Pre-existing Systolic Dysfunction is the Most Powerful Predictor of Failed Arteriovenous Fistula Maturation

Published:March 03, 2022DOI:


      • Patients with pre-existing systolic cardiac dysfunction were 5 times less likely to see their arteriovenous fistula mature by one year after surgery.
      • The echocardiogram may serve an important role in the preoperative evaluation of a dialysis access candidate with pre-existing heart disease.
      • Patients requiring hemodialysis with significant pre-existing cardiac dysfunction may not be appropriate for permanent access creation, and long-term catheter use should be seriously considered as an alternative.


      Patients requiring hemodialysis access creation often have significant comorbid conditions, which may impact access maturation. Underlying cardiac dysfunction likely plays an important role in the maturation of arteriovenous fistulae (AVF). The effect of specific parameters of cardiac function on successful AVF creation has not previously been explored.


      A retrospective chart analysis of patients undergoing first-time AVF creation at a single center from 2011 to 2018 was performed. Patients with a transthoracic echocardiogram within the 12 months prior to surgery were included. Standard demographic and perioperative variables were collected, in addition to echocardiographic and vascular mapping data. The primary outcome was access maturation, defined as the use of the access site for hemodialysis at 3, 6, and 12 months after surgery.


      A total of 121 patients met inclusion criteria with a cumulative AVF maturation rate of 57% (69/121) in this select population. Patients with pre-existing systolic cardiac dysfunction were more than 5 times less likely to see their AVF mature by one year postsurgery (OR = 0.17, P = 0.018). Preoperative venous diameter, access site location, and the type of fistula did not differ significantly between patients with and without systolic dysfunction. Selection of the cephalic vein as the venous anastomosis and diastolic dysfunction (≥ Grade 2) were also associated with lower rates of access maturation, although these associations were less robust.


      Systolic cardiac dysfunction is the most important nonmodifiable variable associated with failed AVF maturation. Patients requiring hemodialysis with significant pre-existing cardiac dysfunction may not be appropriate for permanent access creation, and long-term catheter use should be seriously considered as an alternative.
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