BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES - Referring hemodialysis patients for elective access angiography and percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) is commonly done to prevent access failure, yet the effectiveness of this procedure remains unclear. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, & MEASURES: An observational matched cohort analysis among 40,132 Medicare beneficiaries receiving hemodialysis with a fistula or graft was performed. Cox regression was used to determine whether access intervention was associated with improved 1-year access survival.
RESULTS - Nonsurgical access intervention was found to be frequent at a rate of 20.9 procedures per 100 access years. In the 1-year period after intervention using angiography and PTA, the overall access failure rate was 53.7 per 100 access years in the intervention group and 49.6 in the nonintervention group (HR = 1.02; 95% CI, 0.96 to 1.08). Similar findings were also seen when the analysis was repeated in only fistulas (HR = 1.06; 95% CI, 0.98 to 1.15) and grafts (HR = 0.95; 95% CI, 0.86 to 1.05). In patients with a low intra-access flow rate (HR = 0.86; 95% CI, 0.75 to 0.99) or a new access (HR = 0.79; 95% CI, 0.71 to 0.89), angiography and PTA significantly increased access survival when compared with nonintervention (P for interaction was <0.0001). Angiography-PTA-related upper-extremity hematoma, vessel injury, or embolism-thrombosis occurred in 1.1% of all patients.
CONCLUSIONS - Access characteristics significantly modify the survival benefits of angiography and PTA intervention where the benefits of these interventions are most seen in newer accesses or accesses with insufficient flow.