The Clinical and Economic Effect of Vascular Access Selection in Patients Initiating Hemodialysis with a Catheter.

Academic Article


  • Patients in the United States frequently initiate hemodialysis with a central venous catheter (CVC) and subsequently undergo placement of a new arteriovenous fistula (AVF) or arteriovenous graft (AVG). Little is known about the clinical and economic effects of initial vascular access choice. We identified 479 patients starting hemodialysis with a CVC at a large medical center (during 2004-2012) who subsequently had an AVF (n=295) or AVG (n=105) placed or no arteriovenous access (CVC group, n=71). Compared with patients receiving an AVG, those receiving an AVF had more frequent surgical access procedures per year (1.01 [95% confidence interval, 0.95 to 1.08] versus 0.62 [95% confidence interval, 0.55 to 0.70]; P<0.001) but a similar frequency of percutaneous access procedures per year. Patients receiving an AVF had a higher median annual cost (interquartile range) of surgical access procedures than those receiving an AVG ($4857 [$2523-$8835] versus $2819 [$1411-$4274]; P<0.001), whereas the annual cost of percutaneous access procedures was similar in both groups. The AVF group had a higher median overall annual access-related cost than the AVG group ($10,642 [$5406-$19,878] versus $6810 [$3718-$13,651]; P=0.001) after controlling for patient age, sex, race, and diabetes. The CVC group had the highest median annual overall access-related cost ($28,709 [$11,793-$66,917]; P<0.001), largely attributable to the high frequency of hospitalizations due to catheter-related bacteremia. In conclusion, among patients initiating hemodialysis with a CVC, the annual cost of access-related procedures and complications is higher in patients who initially receive an AVF versus an AVG.
  • Keywords

  • arteriovenous access, arteriovenous fistula, arteriovenous graft, Adult, Aged, Arteriovenous Fistula, Arteriovenous Shunt, Surgical, Blood Vessels, Catheterization, Central Venous, Catheters, Indwelling, Comorbidity, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Health Care Costs, Humans, Kidney Failure, Chronic, Male, Middle Aged, Renal Dialysis, Retrospective Studies, Treatment Outcome
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Al-Balas A; Lee T; Young CJ; Kepes JA; Barker-Finkel J; Allon M
  • Start Page

  • 3679
  • End Page

  • 3687
  • Volume

  • 28
  • Issue

  • 12