Background and Objectives — Guidelines promote early fistula creation to avoid central venous catheter use. This practice may lead to fistula creations in patients who never receive dialysis. The objective of this study was to estimate the risk of fistula nonuse with long-term follow-up.
Design, Setting, Participants and Measurements — Administrative health data identified 1929 predialysis adults who had their first fistula creation between April of 2002 and March of 2006. Patients were followed for a minimum of 2 years or until they began dialysis, received a kidney transplant, or died.
Results — The median follow-up times in patients who started dialysis, died without receiving dialysis, and remained in predialysis were 6.1, 11.5, and 38.7 months, respectively. Eighty-one percent of patients initiated dialysis; 9% of patients died without receiving dialysis, and 10% of patients remained predialysis. Forty percent of patients had their first fistula creation 3–12 months before initiating dialysis (the recommended window). Thirty percent were created within 90 days of starting dialysis; 30% were created more than 1 year before starting dialysis, and 10% were created more than 2 years before starting dialysis. Older patients, females, and patients with less comorbidity were not as likely to initiate dialysis after incident fistula creation.
Conclusions — Most patients who underwent fistula creation before starting dialysis eventually received dialysis with extended follow-up, but the risk was significantly modified by age, sex, and comorbidity. Many patients had fistula creations earlier or later than recommended.
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