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lost most or all kidney function, most commonly due to diabetes or hypertension. Kidney disease is progressive and once a patient has reached end-stage CKD, the kidneys are no longer able to
remove waste and fluids from the body. At this point, some form of renal replacement therapy is required, such as hemodialysis, in which blood is processed by a hemodialysis machine, peritoneal
dialysis, a process using a cavity in the abdomen called the peritoneum as a membrane across which fluids are exchanged from the blood, or kidney transplant.
to the U.S. Renal Data System 2013 Annual Data Report, in 2011 there were approximately 395,000 hemodialysis patients in the United States, and an incremental 104,000 patients
initiated hemodialysis in the United States. As reported by Fresenius Medical, a major provider of hemodialysis services and renal care products, there are approximately 316,000 hemodialysis patients
in Europe, 295,000 hemodialysis patients in Japan and 2 million hemodialysis patients worldwide, with an annual worldwide growth rate of 6-7%.
is the most common form of treatment for end-stage CKD. Hemodialysis is a chronic therapy performed by cannulating, or piercing, a vein with a large bore needle so that
blood can be pumped through a hemodialysis machine, which removes waste and excess fluid normally excreted by the kidney. The cleansed blood is then returned to the same vein via a second needle. A
hemodialysis session typically lasts three to four hours and is performed three times a week in an outpatient dialysis clinic.
enable sufficient blood to pass through the hemodialysis machine to complete treatment within four hours, a vein must have blood flow of at least 500 milliliters per minute. The arm
is the most convenient location for accessing the blood stream on a recurring basis, but blood flow in the arm is approximately 50 milliliters per minute. Therefore, most hemodialysis patients undergo
a surgical procedure in which a surgeon establishes a direct connection between an artery and a vein to create a high flow circuit of sufficient diameter, most often in an arm. The direct artery-vein
connection effectively bypasses the capillary circulation in the hand and leads to a process known as maturation, where the internal diameter, or lumen, of the vein and blood flow increase over a
period of weeks, resulting in a lumen diameter greater than 4 millimeters and blood flow of 500-2,000 milliliters per minute in successful cases.
gold standard for vascular access is an AVF, in which a surgeon transects a vein in the arm and sutures it to the side of a nearby artery. AVFs are preferred because they are less
prone to patency loss than arteriovenous grafts, or AVGs; approximately 50% of AVFs and up to 75% of AVGs will lose primary patency and 20-30% of AVFs and 28-35% of AVGs will lose secondary patency in
the first year after surgical placement. As compared to AVGs, AVFs require approximately 40% fewer interventional or surgical procedures and suffer from a rate of vascular access infection that is 54%
lower. Patients dialyzing with an AVF have lower rates of thrombosis and hospitalization, longer survival, reduced mortality and lower cost of care. Beyond the substantial medical advantages of an
AVF, available data from the U.S. Renal Data System show that patients who dialyze with an AVF cost Medicare approximately $15,000 less annually than patients who dialyze with an AVG and approximately
$25,000 less annually than patients who dialyze with a catheter. According to published data, approximately 60% of hemodialysis patients in the United States dialyze with an AVF compared to 67-83% of
patients in the major European countries and approximately 90% of patients in Japan.
on various third-party sources, we estimate there are approximately 130,000 AVFs created in the United States annually. There are a limited number of potential artery-vein
combinations in the arm that can be used to create an AVF, principally the following:
- radiocephalic AVF at the wrist (radial artery sutured to cephalic vein), which we estimate is created in 40% of new AVF
- brachiocephalic AVF at the elbow (brachial artery sutured to cephalic vein), which we estimate is created in 50% of new
AVF placements; and
- brachiobasilic AVF in the upper arm (brachial artery sutured to basilic vein), which we estimate is created in 10% of new