International Differences in the Location and Use of Arteriovenous Accesses Created for Hemodialysis: Results From the Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study (DOPPS) Academic Article uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Vascular access practice is strongly associated with clinical outcomes. There is substantial international variation in the use of arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs) and grafts (AVGs), as well as AVF maturation time and location. STUDY DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. SETTING & PARTICIPANTS: Hemodialysis patients participating in the prospective Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study (DOPPS) from the United States, Japan, and Europe/ANZ (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand), including 3,850 patients receiving 4,247 new AVFs and 842 patients receiving 1,129 new AVGs in 2009 to 2015. AVF location trends were based on 38,868 AVFs recorded in DOPPS 1 to 5 cross-sections (1996-2015). PREDICTORS: Demographics, comorbid conditions, dialysis vintage, body mass index, facility percentage AVF use, median blood flow rate, and AVF location. OUTCOMES: AVF location; successful AVF/AVG use (≥30 days of continuous use); time-to-first successful AVF/AVG use (maturation). RESULTS: During DOPPS 1 to 5, the percentage of AVFs created in the lower arm was consistently ≥93% in Japan and 65% to 77% in Europe/ANZ, but in the United States, this value declined from 70% (DOPPS 1) to 32% (DOPPS 5). Patient characteristics associated with AVF location differed by region. Successful AVF use was 87% in Japan, 67% in Europe/ANZ, and 64% in the United States, whereas successful AVG use was 86%, 75%, and 78%, respectively. Successful AVF use was greater for upper- versus lower-arm AVFs in the United States, with little difference in Europe/ANZ and the opposite pattern in Japan. Median time until first successful AVF use was 10 days in Japan, 46 days in Europe/ANZ, and 82 days in United States; until first successful AVG use: 6, 24, and 29 days, respectively. LIMITATIONS: Potential measurement error related to chart data abstraction in multiple hemodialysis facilities. CONCLUSIONS: Large international differences exist in AVF location, predictors of AVF location, successful use of AVFs, and time to first AVF/AVG use, challenging what constitutes best practice. The large US shift from lower- to upper-arm AVFs raises serious concerns about long-term health implications for some patients and how policies and practices aimed at increasing AVF use have affected AVF placement location.


  • Pisoni, Ronald L
  • Zepel, Lindsay
  • Fluck, Richard
  • Lok, Charmaine
  • Kawanishi, Hideki
  • Süleymanlar, Gültekin
  • Wasse, Haimanot
  • Tentori, Francesca
  • Zee, Jarcy
  • Li, Yun
  • Schaubel, Douglas
  • Burke, Steven
  • Robinson, Bruce

publication date

  • April 2018