Division of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah; IDEAS Center of Innovation, George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Salt Lake City, Utah. Electronic address: [Email]
OBJECTIVE : Arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs) used for hemodialysis commonly undergo multiple percutaneous and open interventions to maintain functional patency, but it is unclear whether this strategy is cost-effective. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of performing repeated interventions vs starting a new AVF. METHODS : We reviewed all patients with mature radiocephalic, brachiocephalic, and brachiobasilic AVFs at a single academic institution between 2007 and 2015 and assessed the clinical effectiveness of each open and percutaneous intervention to maintain functional patency after the fistula was created. These data were used to parameterize a Markov simulation model to determine the cost-effectiveness for performing an open or percutaneous intervention vs creating an AVF at a new anatomic location. This model compared strategies of creating a new AVF after the first to fourth reintervention within a 1-year time window, with the reference being creation of a new AVF on the fourth reintervention. Costs were measured from Medicare's perspective, and effectiveness was measured as quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) and time in functional access. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were calculated by taking the ratio of the difference in cost and the difference in effectiveness between two strategies. RESULTS : A total of 720 AVFs that were created during the 8-year period reached maturity, and 407 (56%) underwent at least one intervention to maintain functional patency, with the median (interquartile range) time to first reintervention of 12.6 (10-17) months. For the strategies of creating a new AVF after the first versus the fourth reintervention, payer costs ranged from $3519 to $3922 for open procedures and $2134 to $3922 for percutaneous procedures. The ICERs for open interventions on failing AVFs were $357,143/QALY after the first reintervention and $95,876/QALY after the second reintervention. The ICERs for percutaneous interventions on failing AVFs ranged from $1,522,078/QALY after the first reintervention to $443,243/QALY after the third reintervention. CONCLUSIONS : Whereas the clinical effectiveness of performing percutaneous interventions on failing AVFs diminishes after each reintervention, they are nevertheless less costly than creating a new AVF. In comparison, our data show that creating a new AVF is cost-effective after the second open reintervention procedure.