Background: All Swedish dialysis units register data on vascular access in the Swedish Renal Registry (SRR). This study assessed external and internal validity of vascular access data in the SRR and its use as a tool in clinical practice.
Methods: For external validation, all procedures for placed fistulas, open and endovascular reinterventions registered in the SRR in 2011 to 2017 were cross-matched with data from the Swedish National Patient Registry. A two-stage sampling selected 12/60 dialysis units for internal validation. Data on current vascular access for 10 randomly selected patients at each unit were compared with medical record data. SRR data on placed fistulas from 2017 were cross-checked with data from local surgical units. Registrations of central venous catheters (CVCs) as temporary or permanent were used as a proxy for clinical utilization of the registry and analyzed separately.
Results: External validity increased from 74% to 83% during the observation period. In all, 1037 datapoints were used in internal validation, with a 95% match between SRR registrations and medical records. Registrations of CVCs, fistulas, and interventions were reliable, with few missing data or mismatches. Vascular access type initiating hemodialysis was missing or incorrect in either the SRR or medical records for 14/120 patients. Registrations of placed fistulas in 2017 matched in all but four (pre-dialysis stage) of 135 cases. Some 35% of the CVCs validated (n = 49) at 7/12 units were not categorized as temporary or permanent.
Conclusion: The SRR provides a reliable resource on current vascular access care.
Keywords: Validation; hemodialysis access; quality improvement; quality of healthcare; quality registry; vascular access.