Gender Disparities in Vascular Access Surgical Outcomes in Elderly Hemodialysis Patients

Academic Article


  • Background: Despite national vascular access guidelines promoting the use of arteriovenous fistulas (AVF) over arteriovenous grafts (AVGs) for dialysis, AVF use is substantially lower in females. We assessed clinically relevant AVF and AVG surgical outcomes in elderly male and female patients initiating hemodialysis with a central venous catheter (CVC). Methods: Using the United States Renal Data System standard analytic files linked with Medicare claims, we assessed incident hemodialysis patients in the United States, 9,458 elderly patients (≥67 years; 4,927 males and 4,531 females) initiating hemodialysis from July 2010 to June 2011 with a catheter and had an AVF or AVG placed within 6 months. We evaluated vascular access placement, successful use for dialysis, assisted use (requiring an intervention before successful use), abandonment after successful use, and rate of interventions after successful use. Results: Females were less likely than males to receive an AVF (adjusted likelihood 0.57, 95% CI 0.52-0.63). Among patients receiving an AVF, females had higher adjusted likelihoods of unsuccessful AVF use (hazard ratio [HR] 1.46, 95% CI 1.36-1.56), assisted AVF use (OR 1.34, 95% CI 1.17-1.54), and AVF abandonment (HR 1.28, 95% CI 1.10-1.50), but similar relative rate of AVF interventions after successful use (relative risk [RR] 1.01, 95% CI 0.94-1.08). Among patients receiving an AVG, females had a lower likelihood of unsuccessful AVG use (HR 0.83, 95% CI 0.73-0.94), similar rates of assisted AVG use (OR 1.05, 95% CI 0.78-1.40) and AVG abandonment, and greater relative rate of interventions after successful AVG use (RR 1.16, 95% CI 1.01-1.33). Conclusions: While AVFs should be considered the preferred vascular access in most circumstances, clinical AVF surgical outcomes are uniformly worse in females. Clinicians should also consider AVGs as a viable alternative in elderly female patients initiating hemodialysis with a CVC to avoid extended CVC dependence.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Lee T; Qian J; Thamer M; Allon M
  • Start Page

  • 11
  • End Page

  • 19
  • Volume

  • 49
  • Issue

  • 1