Definitions and End Points for Interventional Studies for Arteriovenous Dialysis Access
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This paper is part of the Clinical Trial Endpoints for Dialysis Vascular Access Project of the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Health Initiative. The purpose of this project is to promote research in vascular access by clarifying trial end points which would be best suited to inform decisions in those situations in which supportive clinical data are required. The focus of a portion of the project is directed toward arteriovenous access. There is a potential for interventional studies to be directed toward any of the events that may be associated with an arteriovenous access' evolution throughout its life cycle, which has been divided into five distinct phases. Each one of these has the potential for relatively unique problems. The first three of these correspond to three distinct stages of arteriovenous access development, each one of which has been characterized by objective direct and/or indirect criteria. These are characterized as: stage 1-patent arteriovenous access, stage 2-physiologically mature arteriovenous access, and stage 3-clinically functional arteriovenous access. Once the requirements of a stage 3-clinically functional arteriovenous access have been met, the fourth phase of its life cycle begins. This is the phase of sustained clinical use from which the arteriovenous access may move back and forth between it and the fifth phase, dysfunction. From this phase of its life cycle, the arteriovenous access requires a maintenance procedure to preserve or restore sustained clinical use. Using these definitions, clinical trial end points appropriate to the various phases that characterize the evolution of the arteriovenous access life cycle have been identified. It is anticipated that by using these definitions and potential end points, clinical trials can be designed that more closely correlate with the goals of the intervention and provide appropriate supportive data for clinical, regulatory, and coverage decisions.
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