Purpose: We describe the development and implementation of a comprehensive multidisciplinary vascular access (VA) program and describe its impact on VA distribution rates.
Methods: A retrospective review of all incident and prevalent patients in our hemodialysis (HD) unit was conducted in September 2001 to determine baseline data including: type of VA along with patient characteristics and comorbidities. Similar data was extracted from the database in 2005 for incident and prevalent patients.
Results: The VA program had a significant impact on arteriovenous fistulae (AVF) rates in both incident and prevalent HD patients: incident AVF rates increased from 14 to 39% (p=0.04) and prevalent AVF rates from 60 to 64% (p=0.015). Multivariate analysis revealed that male gender (OR 1.79 [CI 0.85-0.98, p=0.006]) and year of dialysis initiation 2005 vs. 2001 (OR 1.65 [CI 1.09-2.5, p=0.017]) were associated with AVF use among prevalent HD patients. Furthermore, age (per 5 years over 70) is associated with a decreased likelihood of having an AVF (OR 0.91 [CI 0.85-0.98, p=0.009]) whereas comorbidities of cardiovascular disease and diabetes had no impact.
Conclusion: We demonstrate that a structured VA program can increase the number of functioning fistulas without a corresponding increase in catheters in incident and prevalent HD patients.