Racial Disparities in Arteriovenous Fistula Use Among Hemodialysis Patients: The Role of Surgeon Supply

Academic Article


  • Introduction: Factors contributing to racial disparities in arteriovenous fistula (AVF) use among hemodialysis (HD) patients remain poorly defined. We evaluated whether the Black/White race disparity in AVF use is affected by vascular access surgeon supply. Methods: Using Consolidated Renal Operations in a Web-Enabled Network (CROWNWeb) and Medicare claims data from the US Renal Data System (USRDS), competing risk analyses of all US patients initiating HD with a central venous catheter (CVC) from 2016 to 2017 (n = 100,227) were performed. The likelihood of successful AVF use was compared between Black and White patients after adjusting for vascular access surgeon supply. Results: Compared with the first (lowest) quartile of surgeon supply, higher supply levels were associated with modestly increased adjusted likelihoods of overall AVF use: 4% (95% CI 1.4%–7.2%), 4% (95% CI 1.4%–7.1%), and 3% (0.0%–6.1%) for second, third, and fourth quartiles, respectively. Although areas with lower surgeon supply had a higher proportion of Black patients, residing in areas with a greater surgeon supply was not significantly associated with a mitigation in racial disparity. Specifically, compared with White patients, Black patients were 10% (95% CI 7%–13%) and 8% (95% CI 5%–11%) less likely to have successful AVF use in lower and higher surgeon supply areas, respectively. Conclusion: Regions with lower surgeon supply had a higher proportion of Black dialysis patients. However, racial disparities in AVF use among patients initiating HD with a CVC were similar in regions with a high and low surgeon supply. Other patient, provider, and practice factors should be evaluated toward mitigating lower rates of AVF use among Black HD patients.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Zhang Y; Thamer M; Lee T; Crews DC; Allon M
  • Start Page

  • 1575
  • End Page

  • 1584
  • Volume

  • 7
  • Issue

  • 7