Background: Early recurrent stenosis of the cephalic arch in autogenous arteriovenous access for hemodialysis is a common problem that requires stenting to prevent thrombosis. Because the results of stenting are unsatisfactory, we compared the efficacy of stent grafts with bare stents in these patients.
Methods: All patients who presented with recurrent cephalic arch stenosis >50% within 3 months of successful balloon angioplasty were randomized to have angioplasty and stenting with either a bare nitinol stent or a stent graft. Outcome was assessed by angiography 3 months later. Restenosis was defined as >50% narrowing of the stent lumen or of the vessel margin up to 0.5 cm adjacent to the stent. There were no exclusions.
Results: This report includes data on the outcome of 25 consecutive patients with recurrent cephalic arch stenosis who were treated from April to August 2006. At 3 months, three patients had died and one had undergone a renal transplant. The 21 patients who had angiography at 3 months had patent stents. Restenosis rates were seven of 10 (70%) in the bare stent group and two of 11 (18%) in the stent graft group (P = .024). Life-table analysis at 3 and 6 months showed that primary patency was 82% in the stent graft group and 39% in the bare stent group. One-year primary patency was 32% in the stent graft group and 0% in the bare stent group (P = .0023). During a mean follow-up of 13.7 months, nine patients died, four in the bare stent group and five in the stent graft group. Two patients in the stent graft group had received a renal transplant. The number of interventions per patient-year was 1.9 in the bare stent group and 0.9 in the stent graft group (P = .02).
Conclusions: The use of stent grafts in angioplasty for recurrent cephalic arch stenosis significantly improved short-term restenosis rates and long-term patency compared with the use of bare stents. The significant improvement that emerged during the study caused accrual of patients to be halted for ethical reasons. This study altered our usage of stents for venous stenoses in arteriovenous accesses by eliminating bare nitinol stents in favor of stent grafts.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00318435.