Publications : 2019

Nordyke RJ, Reichert H, Bylsma LC, Jackson JJ, Gage SM, Fryzek J, Roy-Chaudhury P, Lithgow T. 2019. Costs attributable to arteriovenous fistula and arteriovenous graft placements in hemodialysis patients with Medicare coverage. Am J Nephrol [Online first, abstract only]: doi: 10.1159/000502507.


Introduction: Hemodialysis (HD) in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients requires vascular access (VA) through an arteriovenous fistula (AVF), a prosthetic arteriovenous graft (AVG), or a central venous catheter. While AVF or AVG is commonly used for HD, the economic implications of AVF versus AVG use have not been fully established. We describe the healthcare resource utilization and costs of AVF and AVG use for incident ESRD patients in the United States.

Methods: This observational cohort study of AVF and AVG placements used data from the United States Renal Data System to identify and follow access placements. AVF and AVG placements after ESRD onset for incident patients from 2012 to 2014 with continuous Medicare primary coverage were included. All-cause and access-related Medicare costs were averaged over the placement lifetime and expressed as per dialysis-month costs.

Results: The analysis included 38,035 AVF placements and 12,789 AVG placements. Total all-cause monthly costs for AVF averaged USD 8,508; mean monthly costs were USD 3,027 for inpatient (IP), USD 3,139 for outpatient (OP), USD 1,572 for physician services, and USD 770 for other care settings. Access-related monthly costs averaged USD 1,699 and represented 20% of all-cause charges for AVFs. Mean all-cause monthly costs for AVG were USD 9,605; by setting monthly costs were USD 3,811 for IP, USD 3,034 for OP, USD 1,881 for physician services and USD 879 for other care settings. Access-related monthly costs averaged USD 2,656 and represented 28% of all-cause charges for AVGs.

Discussion/Conclusions: This study indicates that costs due to VA are a significant burden on Medicare budgets and on patients. The factors driving access-related utilization and costs merit attention in future research. Both optimizing process of care and discovery innovation may significantly accelerate better stewardship of available healthcare resources.