Arteriovenous fistula aneurysmorrhaphy is associated with improved patency and decreased vascular access abandonment

J Vasc Surg. 2023 Mar;77(3):891-898.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2022.10.054. Epub 2022 Nov 8.


Background: Upper extremity hemodialysis arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs) can become aneurysmal over time due to repeated cannulation and/or outflow steno-occlusive disease. The optimal surgical management of aneurysmal AVFs (aneurysmorrhaphy vs interposition graft) has remained unclear.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review in which current procedural terminology codes were used to screen for patients who had undergone surgical treatment of aneurysmal AVFs between 2016 and 2021 at a single hospital system. The patients were included after a review of the operative reports. The cases were divided by surgical procedure (aneurysmorrhaphy vs interposition graft placement). The patients who had undergone primary AVF ligation or other types of repair were excluded. The primary outcomes were primary assisted and secondary patency, and the secondary outcome was dialysis access abandonment. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression was used to test the association between the type of AVF aneurysm repair and the primary and secondary outcomes.

Results: From 2016 to 2021, 6951 patients had undergone 16,190 dialysis access procedures. Of these procedures, 381 (2.4%) were related to surgical treatment of an aneurysmal AVF. We excluded 58 primary AVF ligation cases and 20 cases involving other types of repair, leaving 303 cases for analysis. These were divided into two groups: aneurysmorrhaphy (n = 123; 41%) and interposition graft (n = 180; 59%). No differences were found between the groups in male gender (68% vs 63%), hypertension (98% vs 98%), or central stenosis (14% vs 22%). The patients who had undergone aneurysmorrhaphy were younger (median age, 54 years vs 59 years); had had a lower rate of diabetes (41% vs 59%), coronary artery disease (41% vs 58%), and congestive heart failure (41% vs 55%); and were less likely to have undergone upper arm access (72% vs 92%). The median follow-up was 11.1 months (interquartile range, 3.6-25.2 months). No differences were found in the incidence of 30-day wound complications (1% vs 3%) or surgical site infections (4% vs 6%). On multivariable Cox regression, interposition graft placement was associated with the loss of primary assisted patency (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 2.42; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.18-4.95), loss of secondary patency (aHR, 3.10; 95% CI, 1.21-7.94), and abandonment of dialysis access (aHR, 3.07; 95% CI, 1.61-5.87; P < .05 for all) at 2 years.

Conclusions: AVF aneurysmorrhaphy was associated with improved primary assisted and secondary patency and decreased abandonment of dialysis access. We suggest using aneurysmorrhaphy when AVF aneurysms are indicated for repair. However, individual factors such as patient comorbidities, AVF anatomy, remaining dialysis access options, and patient preference should be considered when planning the surgical approach.

Keywords: Arteriovenous aneurysm; Arteriovenous fistula; Hemodialysis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arteriovenous Fistula* / complications
  • Arteriovenous Shunt, Surgical* / adverse effects
  • Graft Occlusion, Vascular / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Patency