Racial and Sex Disparities in Catheter Use and Dialysis Access in the United States Medicare Population

Shipra Arya, Taylor A Melanson, Elizabeth L George, Kara A Rothenberg, Manjula Kurella Tamura, Rachel E Patzer, Jason M Hockenberry
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology: JASN 2020 January 15

BACKGROUND: Despite efforts to increase arteriovenous fistula and graft use, 80% of patients in the United States start hemodialysis on a central venous catheter (CVC).

METHODS: To better understand in incident hemodialysis patients how sex and race/ethnicity are associated with time on a central venous catheter and transition to an arteriovenous fistula and graft, our observational cohort study analyzed US Renal Data System data for patients with incident ESKD aged ≥66 years who started hemodialysis on a CVC in July 2010 through 2013.

RESULTS: At 1 year, 32.7% of 74,194 patients transitioned to an arteriovenous fistula, 10.8% transitioned to an arteriovenous graft, 32.1% stayed on a CVC, and 24.5% died. Women spent a significantly longer time on a CVC than men. Compared with white patients, patients who were black, Hispanic, or of another racial/ethnicity minority spent significantly more days on a CVC. In competing risk regression, women were significantly less likely than men to transition to a fistula and more likely to transition to a graft. Compared with white patients, blacks were significantly less likely to transition to a fistula but more likely to transition to a graft, Hispanics were significantly more likely to transition to a fistula, and other races/ethnicities were significantly more likely to transition to either a fistula or a graft.

CONCLUSIONS: Female patients spend a longer time on a CVC and are less likely to transition to permanent access. Compared with white patients, minorities also spend longer time on a CVC, but are more likely to eventually transition to permanent access. Strategies to speed transition to permanent access should target groups that currently lag in this area.

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