Arteriovenous fistula use and heart disease in long-term elderly hemodialysis patients: analysis of United States Renal Data System Dialysis Morbidity and Mortality Wave II

Kevin C Abbott, Fernando C Trespalacios, Lawrence Y Agodoa
Journal of Nephrology 2003, 16 (6): 822-30

BACKGROUND: There are some concerns that arteriovenous fistula (AVF) use or other dialysis specific factors may exacerbate cardiovascular disease in long-term hemodialysis (HD) patients.

METHODS: We performed a historical cohort study of the United States Renal Data System Dialysis Morbidity and Mortality Wave II study, limited to 993 patients who started HD in 1996 with valid information on vascular access and who were primarily eligible for Medicare at the start of the study. We assessed the association between hemodialysis vascular access and heart disease, defined as Medicare Claims for heart failure (HF, International Classification of Diseases (ICD9) code 428.x) and acute coronary syndromes (ACS, ICD9 code 410.x and 411.x). Cox proportional hazards regression (using propensity analysis) was used to model adjusted hazard ratios (AHR) for the association between patients factors and heart disease after dialysis.

RESULTS: The rate of HF per 100 person years at risk (PYAR) was 19.6 among AVF users, 25.7 among patients using polytetrafluoroethylene grafts (grafts), and 31.1 among patients using temporary catheters. Corresponding rates of ACS were 8.2 among AVF users, 11.0 among users of grafts, and 12.4 among users of temporary catheters. In Cox Regression analysis, there was no significant association between AVF use and either HF or ACS. This lack of association was consistent across gender, diabetes, race, and age.

CONCLUSIONS: We found that AVF use had no significant association with the incidence of HF or ACS. We conclude that use of AVF by 60 days after the start of dialysis is not associated with an increased risk of later non-fatal cardiovascular outcomes in long-term hemodialysis patients.

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