Reducing central venous catheters in chronic hemodialysis—a commitment to arteriovenous fistula creation in children

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Background: An internal permanent vascular access [arteriovenous fistula (AVF) or arteriovenous graft (AVG)] is preferred over central venous catheters (CVC) for chronic hemodialysis. However, CVC remain the most commonly used access in children. The objective of this study was to evaluate our experience with AVF.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review of children aged 1–18 years on chronic hemodialysis from 2001 to 2012. Patients were divided into three time periods: 2001–2005, 2006–2009 and 2010–2012. A systematic approach to AVF placement was introduced in our department in 2006 which resulted in a greater number of AVF being placed and used, but the access failure rate was still higher than desired. In 2010, a more experienced vascular surgeon was contacted to perform AVF surgery in our most difficult AVF candidates.

Results: Sixty-five AVF were created in 55 patients (67.3 % male). The median age of the patients was 14 (3–18) years. Forty-one (63.1 %) AVF were used successfully, and this number increased from 52.6 to 57.6 to 92.3 % over the three time periods, respectively. Over time, AVF use rates increased and CVC use decreased. By 2012 only 7.7 % of our patients were using a CVC. The primary patency rate was 42.9 % at 1 year; secondary patency rates were 100 and 93.8 % at 1 and 2 years, respectively. Infection and hospitalization rates were higher for CVC than for AVF [0.8 vs. 0.1 infections per access-year (p < 0.001) and 0.9 vs. 0.2 hospitalizations per access-year (p < 0.001)].

Conclusions: With a dedicated approach and vascular access team it is possible to decrease CVC and increase AVF use in children on hemodialysis. In our study, increased AVF use resulted in decreased access-related infection and hospitalization rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2013-2020
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Nephrology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2014


  • Arteriovenous fistula
  • Central venous catheter
  • Chronic hemodialysis
  • Vascular access


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