The clinical and economic effect of vascular access selection in patients initiating hemodialysis with a catheter

Alian Al-Balas, Timmy Lee, Carlton J. Young, Jeffrey A. Kepes, Jill Barker-Finkel, Michael Allon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


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 aCVCat a largemedical center (during 2004-2012) who subsequently had an AVF (n=295) or AVG(n=105) placed or no arteriovenous access (CVC group, n=71). Comparedwith patients receiving anAVG, 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3679-3687
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2017


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