Maximizing arteriovenous (AV) fistula prevalence and minimizing catheter use have become the dominant issues in hemodialysis vascular access management and offer the promise of improved patient outcomes with decreased overall expenditures. Recent efforts have increased AV fistula prevalence in the US to 42.9% with regional rates as high as 59.5% and with complementary declines in AV grafts. This should decrease access procedures but may not fully realize the potential reductions in mortality and cost possible if combined with catheter reduction. Successful catheter reduction requires similar approaches to those utilized in the Fistula First Program. Educating patients, the use of clearly defined protocols and updating payment systems to include chronic kidney disease care are crucial to continued progress. Expansion of the Fistula First Program to include a focus on decreasing catheter prevalence and complications should be considered as a requirement in the push toward the breakthrough targets of 66% AV fistula prevalence.
Copyright (c) 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.