BACKGROUND - We practice the timely placement of an arteriovenous fistula (AVF) in patients facing chronic hemodialysis. We have anecdotally observed after AVF creation that there appears to be a slowing of the decline in kidney function as measured by the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). There are physiologically plausible explanations as to how an AVF might alter kidney function, but this clinical observation has been attributed to improved compliance and/or other practices. The present retrospective observational analysis was performed to assess the possibility that a successfully created AVF could be associated with the slowing of the eGFR trajectory.
METHODS - We identified 123 patients between 2005 and 2010 with at least two eGFR determinations for 2 years before and up to 2 years after AVF creation. Inclusion eligibility was that the fistula was maturing by the nephrologists' initial post-creation examination. Termination events were death, starting dialysis or transplantation. Each subject served as their own control for the pre- and post-AVF-creation eGFR measurements.
RESULTS - Subjects' median age was 68 years and 56% were diabetic. The rate of change of the eGFR for the 2 years prior to AVF creation was -5.9 mL/min/year (95% CI: -5.3, -6.5) and after AVF creation -0.5 mL/min/year (95% CI: -1.1, 0.1) (interaction (P < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS - A functioning AVF may be associated with a slowing of the eGFR decline. Agreeing to timely AVF creation selects patients in an otherwise typical population and other confounders have not yet been eliminated. To do so a thorough prospective observational study is indicated.
© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of ERA-EDTA. All rights reserved.