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A Single-Center Experience with Forearm Arteriovenous Loop Grafts for Hemodialysis

      Background

      Autogenous arteriovenous fistula (AVF) remains the standard of hemodialysis (HD) access; however, it cannot be reasonably obtained in all patients. For patients with contraindications to AVFs, prosthetic arteriovenous graft (AVG) remains an alternative. AVGs are plagued by high failure rates; however, there is a paucity of literature examining this. This study aims to examine a single-center review of outcomes of forearm loop AVGs in patients requiring HD access.

      Methods

      A single institution, retrospective chart review was completed from 2012 to 2019, including demographics, end-stage renal disease etiology, brachial vessel diameters, and comorbidities. Logistic regression and Cox proportional hazard models were evaluated. Outcomes were defined as primary patency (time elapsed from graft creation until it was utilized as the patient’s primary access), primary-assisted patency (time from primary access to intervention to maintain patency), and functional patency (time from graft placement until graft failure). Additionally, multinomial regression models were used to evaluate associations with categorical number of required interventions.

      Results

      Ninety-eight patients [mean age 61.8 (13.9) years, 42.9% female] were identified as having brachial artery to brachial vein AVG creation during the study period, of which 75% achieved primary patency. Primary-assisted patency was 0.36 [standard error (SE) 0.07] at 6 months and 0.12 (SE 0.05) at 1 year. Functional patency was 0.75 (SE 0.07) at 6 months and 0.43 (SE 0.09) at 1 year. No association between preoperative vessel diameters and primary-assisted or functional patency was observed. Interestingly, there was a significant negative association between previous ipsilateral access and achievement of primary patency with a 60% decrease in odds of achieving primary patency in patients with previous ipsilateral access [odds ratio 0.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.1–0.9, P = 0.03]. There was also noted to be a significant association between the presence of an ipsilateral catheter and increased risk of subsequent abandonment of the AVG (hazard ratio 2.6, 95% CI 1.1–5.8, P = 0.02).

      Conclusions

      Prosthetic forearm loop AVGs remain hindered in their utility as they show high rates of graft failure within a year of creation. A significant patient-specific factor leading to this was not clearly demonstrated. As guidelines change regarding the nature of dialysis access for patients on HD, these results draw into question the utility of prosthetic forearm loop grafts in patients requiring long-term HD access.
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