Results of aggressive graft surveillance and endovascular treatment on secondary patency rates of Vectra Vascular Access Grafts

Stavros K Kakkos, Roger Haddad, Georges K Haddad, Daniel J Reddy, Timothy J Nypaver, Judith C Lin, Alexander D Shepard
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2007, 45 (5): 974-80

OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of an aggressive graft surveillance and endovascular treatment protocol on secondary patency rates of a polyetherurethaneurea vascular access graft, specially designed to provide early access and rapid hemostasis.

METHODS: One hundred and ninety Vectra Vascular Access Grafts (C. R. Bard, Inc, Murray Hill, NJ) were placed in 176 patients (78 females and 98 males, mean age 61.7 years). There were 41 forearm grafts, 145 upper arm grafts and four thigh grafts. Graft surveillance was performed by using clinical and hemodialysis parameters to detect a failing/failed graft and followed by endovascular treatment, rheolytic thrombectomy (AngioJet, Possis Medical Inc, Minneapolis, Minn) and/or angioplasty +/- stenting of the anatomical lesion (arterial anastomosis, graft, venous outflow, draining or central veins).

RESULTS: Hemodialysis started after a median of 15.5 days, as soon as from the day of the operation in some cases. Bleeding complications occurred in six patients (3.2%), venous hypertension in seven (3.7%), steal syndrome in two (1.1%), neurological complications in two (1.1%), while late infection (range 2.7-14.6 months) was seen in six patients (3.2%). Thrombectomy and angioplasty (median number of sessions 1, interquartile range 1-2) was performed in 43 grafts. Isolated angioplasty, not associated with thrombosis (median number of sessions 1, interquartile range 1-2), was performed in 50 grafts. These interventions increased primary assisted patency from 69% and 63% at 12 and 18 months, respectively to a secondary patency rate of 86%. Taking into account grafts removed for late infection, functional secondary patency rate dropped to 83% and 81%, at 12 and 18 months, respectively. Arterial anastomosis angioplasty was performed more frequently in thrombosed grafts (28.6%) than failing grafts (6.7%), P < .001 and had a significant negative predictive value on secondary patency rates at 12 and 18 months, which were 60.5% compared with 89% for grafts that had no interventions performed (P = .007) and 90.9% for grafts that had any intra-graft, venous outflow, or draining or central vein stenosis treated with angioplasty at any stage (P = .002). Multivariate analysis identified the presence of arterial anastomosis stenosis as the single predictor of secondary patency (relative risk 0.247, P = .002).

CONCLUSIONS: Aggressive graft surveillance and endovascular treatment increases significantly secondary patency rates of Vectra Vascular Access Grafts. Longer follow-up will determine the effectiveness of this policy. The role of inflow stenosis on graft longevity and alternative treatment options warrant further investigation.

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