Background and objectives: Vascular access failure (VAF) is associated with increased morbidity and mortality in hemodialysis patients. The most common cause of VAF is stenosis at the arteriovenous anastomosis because of abnormal neointimal proliferation and extracellular matrix deposition. These two changes are also observed in the classic atheroma, which means atherosclerotic lesions and venous stenosis in VAF may share some similar pathogenic mechanisms. The ankle–brachial index (ABI) is a reliable marker for atherosclerosis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between ABI <0.9 and VAF.
Design, setting, participants, & measurements: All routine hemodialysis patients in one regional hospital were included except for six patients refusing ABI examinations and four patients with atrial fibrillation. Finally, 225 patients formed our study group. The study subjects were observed from arteriovenous access creation until the first episode of VAF. The mean observation period was 42.2 ± 42.8 mo. The relative VAF risk was analyzed by Cox-regression methods with adjustments for demographic and comorbid conditions.
Results: VAF episodes were recorded in 111 patients. In multivariate analysis, ABI <0.9 (hazard ratio, 1.893; P = 0.039), vascular access type of arteriovenous graft (P = 0.004), and serum triglyceride level (P = 0.043) were positively associated with VAF, and serum parathyroid hormone level (P = 0.043) was negatively associated with VAF.
Conclusions: Our findings show that ABI <0.9 is significantly correlated with increased VAF. Screening hemodialysis patients by means of ABI may help to identify a high-risk group for VAF.