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The incident hemodialysis (HD) population is aging, and the elderly group is the one with the most rapid increase. In this context it is important to define the factors associated with outcomes in elderly patients. The high prevalence of comorbidities, particularly diabetes mellitus, peripheral vascular disease and congestive heart failure, usually make vascular access (VA) creation more difficult.

Furthermore, many of these patients may have an insufficient vasculature for fistula maturation. Finally, many fistulas may never be used due to the competing risk of death before dialysis initiation. In these cases, an arteriovenous graft and in some cases a central venous catheter become a valid alternative form of VA. Nephrologists need to know what is the most appropriate VA option in these patients. Age should not be a limiting factor when determining candidacy for arteriovenous fistula creation. The aim of this position statement, prepared by experts of the Vascular Access Working Group of the Italian Society of Nephrology, is to critically review the current evidence on VA in elderly HD patients. To this end, relevant clinical studies and recent guidelines on VA are reviewed and commented. The main advantages and potential drawbacks of the different VA modalities in the elderly patients are discussed.


Lomonte, C., Forneris, G., Gallieni, M., Tazza, L., Meola, M., Lodi, M., Senatore, M., Morale, W., Spina, M., Napoli, M., Bonucchi, D. and Galli, F. (2016) The vascular access in the elderly: a position statement of the Vascular Access Working Group of the Italian Society of Nephrology. Journal of Nephrology. January 16th. .

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