BACKGROUND: Haemodialysis patients have a high mortality rate. Part of this can be attributed to vascular access complications. Large retrospective studies have shown a higher mortality in patients dialysed with a catheter, which is mostly ascribed to infectious complications. Since we observe very little infectious complications in our haemodialysis patients, the aim of our study was to assess if we could still detect a difference in survival according to vascular access type.
METHODS: Patients that started chronic haemodialysis treatment between 1/1/2007 and 31/12/2016 at the 'Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel' were retrospectively studied. The time to death was studied as a function of the two main vascular access types using survival analysis, considering the type of vascular access at the initiation of dialysis or as time varying, and accounting for the available baseline characteristics.
RESULTS: Of 374 patients 309 (82.6%) initiated haemodialysis with a catheter, while 65 patients initiated with an arteriovenous access. Vascular access type during follow-up did not change in 74% of all patients. A Kaplan Meier plot did not suggest a survival dependent on the vascular access type at start. An extended cox proportional hazard analysis showed that vascular access type was not independently correlated with mortality. However, age, history of congestive heart failure and active cancer at initiation of dialysis were independently associated with mortality.
CONCLUSIONS: In this retrospective cohort study, haemodialysis vascular access type was not independently correlated with patient survival, even after taking into account change of vascular access over time.