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Analysis of 855 Upper Extremity Fistulas Created Using a Standard Protocol: The Role of Graft Extension to Achieve Functional Status

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The Fistula First Breakthrough Initiative (FFBI) has been one of the most important national programs to help achieve considerable improvements in the care of patients on chronic hemodialysis. FFBI has helped place guidelines to push practitioners to reduce the use of tunneled central venous catheters and to increase the rate of arteriovenous fistula use in patients requiring chronic hemodialysis access. However, despite current guidelines, no specific protocols exist for the creation and management of autogenous arteriovenous fistulas and outcomes at most centers are below national benchmarks. In this study, we examine the effectiveness of a standard protocol used at our institution for the creation of autogenous upper extremity fistulas for hemodialysis access in achieving early cannulation and early removal of tunneled dialysis catheters. Our review encompasses 855 consecutive autogenous fistulas created over a 10-year period. Our findings suggest that the use of a standard protocol for creation and management of autogenous fistulas can help increase the rate of functional accesses over national benchmarks. Additionally, extension/conversion of malfunctioning fistulas to grafts appears to be an excellent method to expedite removal of a tunneled dialysis catheter with concomitant preservation of a fistula.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: DeWitt-Daughtry Family Department of Surgery, Division of Vascular & Endovascular Surgery, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida, USA

Publication date: 01 June 2013

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