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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Fistulas, the preferred form of hemodialysis access, are difficult to establish and maintain. We examined the effect of a multidisciplinary vascular access team, including nurses, surgeons, and radiologists, on the probability of using a fistula catheter-free, and rates of access-related procedures in incident patients receiving hemodialysis.

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DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, & MEASUREMENTS: We examined vascular access outcomes in the first year of hemodialysis treatment before (2004-2005, preteam period) and after the implementation of an access team (2006-2008, early-team period; 2009-2011, late-team period) in the Calgary Health Region, Canada. We used logistic regression to study the probability of fistula creation and the probability of catheter-free fistula use, and negative binomial regression to study access-related procedure rates.

RESULTS: We included 609 adults (mean age, 65 [±15] years; 61% men; 54% with diabetes). By the end of the first year of hemodialysis, 102 participants received a fistula in the preteam period (70%), 196 (78%) in the early-team period (odds ratios versus preteam, 1.47; 95% confidence interval, 0.92 to 2.35), and 139 (66%) in the late-team period (0.85; 0.54 to 1.35). Access team implementation did not affect the probability of catheter-free use of the fistula (odds ratio, 0.87; 95% confidence interval, 0.52 to 1.43, for the early; and 0.89; 0.52 to 1.53, for the late team versus preteam period). Participants underwent an average of 4-5 total access-related procedures during the first year of hemodialysis, with higher rates in women and in people with comorbidities. Catheter-related procedure rates were similar before and after team implementation; relative to the preteam period, fistula-related procedure rates were 40% (20%-60%) and 30% (10%-50%) higher in the early-team and late-team periods, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Introduction of a multidisciplinary access team did not increase the probability of catheter-free fistula use, but resulted in higher rates of fistula-related procedures.


Gill, S., Quinn, R., Oliver, M., Kamar, F., Kabani, R., Devoe, D., Mysore, P., Pannu, N., MacRae, J., Manns, B., Hemmelgarn, B., James, M., Tonelli, M., Lewin, A., Liu, P. and Ravani, P. (2017) Multi-Disciplinary Vascular Access Care and Access Outcomes in People Starting Hemodialysis Therapy. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. September 14th. .

doi: 10.2215/CJN.03430317.

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