Uniform vascular access guidelines for elderly patients may be inappropriate because of the competing risk of death, high rate of arteriovenous fistula (AVF) maturation failure, and poor vascular access outcomes in this population. However, the outcomes in elderly patients with advanced CKD who receive permanent vascular access before dialysis initiation are unclear. We identified a large nationally representative cohort of 3418 elderly patients (aged ≥ 70 years) with CKD undergoing predialysis AVF or arteriovenous graft (AVG) creation from 2004 to 2009, and assessed the frequencies of dialysis initiation, death before dialysis initiation, and dialysis-free survival for 2 years after vascular access creation. In all, 67% of patients with predialysis AVF and 71% of patients with predialysis AVG creation initiated dialysis within 2 years of access placement, but the overall risk of dialysis initiation was modified by patient age and race. Only one half of patients initiated dialysis with a functioning AVF or AVG; 46.8% of AVFs were created <90 days before dialysis initiation. Catheter dependence at dialysis initiation was more common in patients receiving predialysis AVF than in patients receiving AVG (46.0% versus 28.5%; P<0.001). In conclusion, most elderly patients with advanced CKD who received predialysis vascular access creation initiated dialysis within 2 years. As a consequence of late predialysis placement or maturation failure, almost one half of patients receiving AVFs initiated dialysis with a catheter. Insertion of an AVG closer to dialysis initiation may serve as a "catheter-sparing" approach and allow delay of permanent access placement in selected elderly patients with CKD.
Keywords: arteriovenous fistula; arteriovenous graft; vascular access.
Copyright © 2015 by the American Society of Nephrology.