Comparison of Arteriovenous Grafts in the Thigh and Upper Extremities in Hemodialysis Patients

Academic Article


  • Placement of a thigh graft is an option in hemodialysis patients who have exhausted all upper extremity sites for permanent vascular access. The outcome of thigh grafts has been reported only in retrospective studies. The outcomes of 409 grafts placed at a single institution during a 3.5-yr period were evaluated prospectively, including 63 thigh grafts (15% of the total). Information was recorded on surgical complications, dates of radiologic and surgical interventions, and date of graft failure. The technical failure rate was approximately twice as high for thigh grafts, as compared with upper extremity grafts (12.7 versus 5.8%; P = 0.046). Intervention-free survival was similar for thigh and upper extremity grafts (median, 3.9 versus 3.5 mo; P = 0.55). Thrombosis-free survival was also comparable for thigh and upper extremity grafts (median, 5.7 versus 5.5 mo; P = 0.94). Cumulative survival (time to permanent failure) was similar for thigh and upper extremity grafts (median, 14.8 versus 20.8 mo; P = 0.62). When technical failures were excluded, the median cumulative survival was 27.6 mo for thigh grafts and 22.5 mo for upper extremity grafts (P = 0.72). The frequency of angioplasty (0.28 versus 0.57 per year), thrombectomy (1.58 versus 0.94 per year), surgical revision (0.28 versus 0.18 per year), and total intervention rate (2.15 versus 1.70 per year) was similar between thigh and upper extremity grafts. Access loss as a result of infection tended to be higher for thigh grafts than for upper extremity grafts (11.1 versus 5.2%; P = 0.07). In conclusion, placement of thigh grafts should be considered a viable option among hemodialysis patients who have exhausted all options for a permanent vascular access in both upper extremities.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Miller CD; Robbin ML; Barker J; Allon M
  • Start Page

  • 2942
  • End Page

  • 2947
  • Volume

  • 14
  • Issue

  • 11