Autogenous Vascular Access in American Indians

Published:December 22, 2021DOI:


      • Type of Research: Single-center, retrospective cohort study.
      • 235 consecutive new American Indian patients had an autogenous vascular access created during a ten-year period. 85% were diabetic and 27% obese.
      • Primary and cumulative patency rates were 46% and 94% at 24 months, respectively.
      • Male gender and obesity were associated with lower patency.
      • Conclusion: Safe and functional arteriovenous fistulas can be created for American Indians despite a high prevalence of diabetes.


      American Indians (AI) or Alaska Natives, or in combination with another race, comprised 6.8 million individuals in 2010 and the population is expected to exceed 10 million in the current census. Diabetes is more common in AIs than in other races in the United States and is responsible for 69% of new onset end stage renal disease in AI patients. The incidence of obesity is also higher among AIs. As both diabetes and obesity make creating a successful autogenous vascular access more challenging, we reviewed our experience creating arteriovenous fistulas in AI patients.


      Our vascular access database was reviewed for consecutive new AI patients undergoing creation of a hemodialysis vascular access during a 10-year period. Each patient underwent ultrasound vessel mapping by the operating surgeon in addition to history and physical examination. The goal for initial cannulation was 4–6 weeks after access creation. Minimal AVF flow volume for cannulation was 500 mL/min with an outflow vein diameter of 6 mm.


      235 consecutive new AI patients were identified. All patients had an autogenous access constructed. The median age was 56 years (range, 15–89 years). Diabetes was present in 85% and 42% were female. Obesity was noted in 27% of the patients and 37% had previous vascular access operations. Primary patency at 12 and 24 months was 62% and 46%, respectively. Cumulative patency at 12 and 24 months was 96% and 94%, respectively. Female gender and previous access operations were associated with lower primary (P = 0.002 and 0.02, respectively) and cumulative patency (P = 0.01 and 0.04, respectively). Obesity was associated with lower cumulative access patency (P = 0.02). Overall, 74% of the access operations used the radial or ulnar artery for AVF inflow. Distal radial artery inflow AVFs were associated with longer patient survival (P = 0.01) and individuals with proximal radial inflow had longer survival when compared to brachial artery AVFs. Previous access operations were associated with shorter patient survival (P = 0.04).


      Safe and functional arteriovenous fistulas can be created for American Indians despite a higher prevalence of vascular access risk factors such as diabetes and obesity.


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