Previous hemodialysis access improves functional outcomes of the proximal radial artery fistula in males

Michael F Amendola, John Pfeifer, Francisco Albuquerque, Luke Wolfe, Mark M Levy, Ronald K Davis
Annals of Vascular Surgery 2015, 29 (5): 920-6

BACKGROUND: The proximal radial artery fistula (PRA) has been established as an early viable surgical option for arteriovenous fistula creation. The overall assisted primary patency reported in the literature approaches 100% at 1 year. We hypothesize that this excellent patency does not represent a functional result when seen in light of successful cannulation and fistula utilization.

METHODS: We retrospectively queried our Veterans Administration Hospital operative database to identify 284 male patients who had 571 access procedures performed by a senior vascular surgeon attending (R.K.D.) from January 1, 2003, to December 31, 2008. Operative details, patient comorbidities, fistula maturation time (time to first cannulation), functional patency (date of access to abandonment, revision to another fistula type, conversion to a prosthetic graft, thrombosis of the fistula, conversion to peritoneal dialysis, renal transplant, or patient death), and total duration (creation of the fistula to the end of its functional patency) were collected and analyzed.

RESULTS: A total of 144 PRAs were placed during the study period. In all, 87 patients underwent primary proximal radial artery fistula (P-PRA) placement in a limb without previous access; 57 patients had a secondary proximal radial artery fistula (S-PRA) after a failed previous fistula or graft in the same limb. There were no differences between the 2 groups in terms of age, comorbidities, and operative details. A total of 91 patients (63.2%) were receiving hemodialysis at the time of P-PRA or S-PRA placement. Outcomes of P-PRA and S-PRA populations on hemodialysis were examined. There was increased cannulation success (33% vs. 55%; P = 0.00354, Fisher's exact test), functional patency (755.2 ± 661.2 days vs. 405.4 ± 531.9 days; P = 0.0220, Wilcoxon two-sample test), and total duration (859.5 ± 650.7 days vs. 516.8 ± 547.2 days; P = 0.0361, Wilcoxon two-sample test) of S-PRA over P-PRA. There was no difference in endovascular interventions between the 2 groups (1.6 ± 1.0 interventions per access versus 1.1 ± 0.7 interventions per access; P = 0.2109, Wilcoxon two-sample test). Subgroup analysis (analysis of variance) of the S-PRA group indicated that a patent but failing previous access in the same arm was not superior in terms of successful cannulation, functional patency, or total duration when compared with a thrombosed previous access.

CONCLUSIONS: The PRA remains a viable first access procedure undertaken at our institution. Compared with the reported 12-month assisted primary patency of this fistula type, we found a small percentage of PRAs actually being accessed for successful hemodialysis treatment. The S-PRA appears to have a significantly higher successful cannulation rate, functional patency, and total duration time when compared with the P-PRA in patients receiving hemodialysis treatments. The mechanism of these improved outcomes is not known; considering patency or thrombosis of a previous access in the S-PRA group did not predict future access success in the same extremity.

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