- •Among 56 patients, brachial artery diameter and velocity were smaller in women.
- •Women had fewer circulating monocytes during maturation than men.
- •Arterial inflow and the immune system drive sex differences during arteriovenous fistula maturation.
Arteriovenous fistulae mature less frequently in women than in men, leading to inferior patency and decreased fistula utilization in women. We hypothesized that both anatomic and physiologic sex differences explain reduced maturation.
The electronic medical records of patients who had a primary arteriovenous fistula created from 2016 to 2021 at a single center were reviewed; sample size was determined using a power calculation. Postoperative ultrasound and laboratory tests were obtained at least 4 weeks after fistula creation. Primary unassisted fistula maturation was determined up to 4 years postprocedure.
A total of 28 women and 28 men with a brachial-cephalic fistula were analyzed. The inflow brachial artery diameter was smaller in women than in men, both preoperatively (4.2 ± 0.9 vs. 4.9 ± 1.0 mm, P = 0.008) and postoperatively (4.8 ± 0.8 vs. 5.3 ± 0.9 mm, P = 0.039). Despite similar preoperative brachial artery peak systolic velocity, women had significantly lower postoperative arterial velocity (P = 0.027). Fistula flow was reduced in women, particularly in the midhumerus (747.0 ± 570.4 vs. 1,117.1 ± 471.3 cc/min, P = 0.003). Percentages of neutrophils and lymphocytes were similar among women and men 6 weeks after fistula creation. However, women had reduced monocytes (8.5 ± 2.0 vs. 10.0 ± 2.6%, P = 0.0168). Among 28 men, 24 of 28 (85.7%) achieved unassisted maturation, whereas only 15 of 28 (53.6%) women had fistulae that matured without intervention. Secondary analysis using logistic regression suggested that postoperative arterial diameter was associated with maturation in men, while postoperative monocyte percentage was associated with maturation in women.
Sex differences during arteriovenous fistula maturation are present in arterial diameter and velocity, suggesting that both anatomic and physiologic differences in arterial inflow contribute to sex differences in fistula maturation. In men, postoperative arterial diameter is correlated with maturation, whereas in women, the significantly lower proportion of circulating monocytes suggests a role for the immune response in fistula maturation.
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Published online: February 20, 2023
Accepted: January 28, 2023
Received: December 6, 2022
Publication stageIn Press Journal Pre-Proof
Conflict of interest: The Authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.
Funding sources: This work was supported by the US National Institutes of Health grants R01-HL144476 and R01-HL162580.
Published by Elsevier Inc.