Background: The National Kidney Foundation-Kidney Diseases Outcomes Quality Initiative (KDOQI) for vascular access guidelines state that patients with late-stage chronic kidney disease (CKD) should undergo native arteriovenous fistula (AVF) creation at least 6 months before anticipated start of hemodialysis (HD) treatments to obviate the need for other vascular access types, such as grafts or central catheters.
Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the incidence of HD, the functional patency, and associated morbidity of AVFs in patients with late-stage CKD placed according to KDOQI.
Methods: Consecutive patients with late-stage CKD who underwent AVF creation using KDOQI guidelines for anatomy between January 2003 and December 2007 at two tertiary academic centers were retrospectively evaluated. Baseline demographics, AVF type, and clinical comorbidities were recorded. Patients were stratified into one of four groups (groups A-D) over the follow-up course based on two end points: patency of their AVF and whether or not they began HD. The ideal primary outcome was AVF maturation and use for HD (group A; cumulative functional patency). Other outcomes included AVF patency but no HD (group B), HD with AVF failure (group C), or no HD and AVF abandonment (ie, death, refused hemodialysis, kidney transplant, or fistula failure; group D). Secondary outcomes were time to first cannulation, complications, and secondary interventions.
Results: AVFs were created (46% forearm and 54% upper arm) in 150 patients with CKD (85% men, median age 63 years old). At a median follow-up of 10 months, 74 patients (49%) were receiving HD and of these, 48 patients (65%) were using their AVF (group A), whereas 26 patients (35%) were not due to fistula failure (group C). Thirty-four patients (23%) never initiated HD treatments, but had a viable AVF (group B), and 42 patients (28%) never initiated HD and abandoned their AVF (group D). Overall, AVF abandonment was 51%. Mean maturation time of all AVFs successfully cannulated was 285 days (range, 30-1265 days). Complications encountered were maturation failure for cannulation (15%), focal stenosis requiring intervention (13%), inadequate flows on HD (9%), steal syndrome (9%), and thrombosis (8%). Cumulative functional patency for all AVFs was 19% and 27% at 6 and 12 months, respectively, with a mean number of two interventions per AVF (range, 1-10). Mortality during the study was 23%.
Conclusion: Despite successful creation and maturation of a preemptive AVF in nearly two-thirds of patients who started HD during the follow-up and given the following observations: the high overall mortality of the population, the morbidity and costs in secondary procedures of AVF creation, and the high incidence of abandonment, it is unclear if this strategy would demonstrate a benefit in a randomized trial when compared to other access strategies.
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