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and are less costly. As a result of these efforts, AVF use has approximately doubled since 2004 to 60% of United States hemodialysis patients.
major problem with AVFs and AVGs is patency loss, in which the access experiences either a significant or complete reduction in blood flow, precluding hemodialysis and placing the
access at risk of abandonment. However, the increased use of AVFs has led to a concurrent increase in AVF patency loss as AVFs are placed in patients with higher risks of AVF failure, such as the
elderly, diabetics or patients with smaller blood vessels. Additionally, physicians have become more aggressive in monitoring and intervening earlier upon AVFs in an attempt to treat patency loss
before it results in abandonment of that access site. These factors have resulted in an approximate doubling in the rate of AVF interventions in less than a decade.
are not aware of any approved preventative measures to reduce the rate of vascular access patency loss, and the clinical implications of patency loss are severe. An episode of patency
loss must be addressed urgently to restore blood flow, enable the patient to resume hemodialysis and avoid access abandonment. Treatment of patency loss typically involves an outpatient procedure,
either an endovascular intervention, such as balloon angioplasty, stenting or thrombectomy, or a surgical revision.
to address patency loss are invasive, painful, and associated with a number of complications, and there are a number of problems associated with
- The procedures are not always successful in restoring
patency. Procedures to address AVF patency loss are unsuccessful up to 27% of the time. When these procedures are unsuccessful or the physician determines that a
procedure to restore patency is futile, the access site must be abandoned, resulting in the urgent need for catheter placement to enable hemodialysis. Recent data indicate that hemodialysis patients
who switch from a permanent vascular access to a catheter have a mortality rate that is double those who remain on a permanent access. Access abandonment also results in surgical placement of a new
AVF or AVG, reducing the number of future access sites available to the patient.
- The procedures often fail to provide a durable benefit, resulting in a cycle of interventions for
the patient. Recent data indicate that 50% of AVFs that undergo angioplasty to treat patency loss experience another episode of patency loss within
12 months, resulting in the need for additional procedures to restore patency. AVF patients in the United States on average require greater than 1.5 procedures per year, each of which typically
costs Medicare between $5,000 and $13,000. A United States hospital recently published data indicating that maintaining a radiocephalic AVF can cost on average more than $17,000 in the first year
after surgical placement. A 2014 publication estimated the total cost of managing vascular access dysfunction in the United States to be approximately $2.9 billion annually.
and AVGs are also prone to secondary patency loss, in which the access must be abandoned. Patients on hemodialysis must dialyze with a catheter until a new permanent access can be
surgically placed and becomes usable for hemodialysis, a process that typically requires a minimum of three months for AVFs. During this time, patients are at a heightened risk of serious infection,
hospitalization and death. According to the U.S. Renal Data System, in 2011 hemodialysis patients averaged approximately 12 hospital days per year.