An arteriovenous fistula (AVF) is the optimal vascular access for hemodialysis (HD), because it is associated with prolonged survival, fewer infections, lower hospitalization rates, and reduced costs. The AVF First breakthrough initiative (FFBI) has made dramatic progress, effectively promoting the increase in the national AVF prevalence since the program's inception from 32% in May 2003 to nearly 60% in 2011. Central venous catheter (CVC) use has stabilized and recently decreased slightly for prevalent patients (treated more than 90 days), while CVC usage in the first 90 days remains unacceptably high at nearly 80%. This high prevalence of CVC utilization suggests important specific improvement goals for FFBI. In addition to the current 66% AVF goal, the initiative should include specific CVC usage target(s), based on the KDOQI goal of less than 10% in patients undergoing HD for more than 90 days, and a substantially improved initial target from the current CVC proportion. These specific CVC targets would be disseminated through the ESRD networks to individual dialysis facilities, further emphasizing CVC avoidance in the transition from advanced CKD to chronic kidney failure, while continuing to decrease CVC by prompt conversion of CVC-based hemodialysis patients to permanent vascular access, utilizing an AVF whenever feasible.
© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.