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      Frequent Hemodialysis Fistula Infectious Complications

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          Background: Few studies have examined if infectious arteriovenous access complications vary with the cannulation technique and whether this is modified by dialysis frequency. We compared the infection rate between fistulas cannulated using buttonhole versus stepladder techniques for patients treated with short daily (SDH) or nocturnal hemodialysis at home (NHD). We also compared patients receiving conventional intermittent hemodialysis (CIHD) using stepladder cannulation. Methods: Data were prospectively collected from 631 patients dialyzed with a fistula from 2001 to 2010 (Toronto and Ottawa, Canada). We compared the person-time incidence rate of bacteremia and local fistula infections using the exact binomial test. Results: Forty-six (7.3%) patients received SDH (≥5 sessions/week, 2-4 h/session), 128 (20.3%) NHD (≥4 sessions/week, ≥5 h/session) and 457 (72%) CIHD (3 sessions/week, ≤4 h/session). Fifty percent of SDH and 72% of NHD patients used the buttonhole technique. There were 39 buttonhole-related bacteremias (rate: 0.196/1,000 fistula days) and at least 2 local buttonhole site infections. Staphylococcus aureus accounted for 85% of the bacteremias. There were 5 (13%) infection-related hospitalizations and 3 (10%) serious metastatic infections, including fistula loss. In comparison, there was 1 possible fistula-related infection in CIHD during follow-up (rate: 0.002/1,000 fistula days). Conclusions: The rate of buttonhole-related infections was high among patients on frequent hemodialysis and more than 50 times greater than that among patients on CIHD with the stepladder technique. Most bacteremias were due to S. aureus - with serious consequences. The risks and benefits of buttonhole cannulation require individual consideration with careful monitoring, prophylaxis and management.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Clinical practice guidelines for vascular access.

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            EBPG on Vascular Access.

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              Increasing arteriovenous fistulas in hemodialysis patients: problems and solutions.

              National guidelines promote increasing the prevalence of fistula use among hemodialysis patients. The prevalence of fistulas among hemodialysis patients reflects both national, regional, and local practice differences as well as patient-specific demographic and clinical factors. Increasing fistula prevalence requires increasing fistula placement, improving maturation of new fistulas, and enhancing long-term patency of mature fistulas for dialysis. Whether a patient receives a fistula depends on several factors: timing of referral for dialysis and vascular access, type of fistula placed, patient demographics, preference of the nephrologist, surgeon, and dialysis nurses, and vascular anatomy of the patient. Whether the placed fistula is useable for dialysis depends on additional factors, including adequacy of vessels, surgeon's experience, patient demographics, nursing skills, minimal acceptable dialysis blood flow, and attempts to revise immature fistulas. Whether a mature fistula achieves long-term patency depends on the ability to prevent and correct thrombosis. An optimal outcome is likely when there is (1) a multidisciplinary team approach to vascular access; (2) consensus about the goals among all interested parties (nephrologists, surgeons, radiologists, dialysis nurses, and patients); (3) early referral for placement of vascular access; (4) restriction of vascular access procedures to surgeons with demonstrable interest and experience; (5) routine, preoperative mapping of the patient's arteries and veins; (6) close, ongoing communication among the involved parties; and (7) prospective tracking of outcomes with continuous quality assessment. Implementing these measures is likely to increase the prevalence of fistulas in any given dialysis unit. However, differences among dialysis units are likely to persist because of differences in gender, race, and co-morbidity mix of the patient population.

                Author and article information

                Nephron Extra
                S. Karger AG
                September – December 2014
                14 October 2014
                : 4
                : 3
                : 159-167
                aDivision of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Toronto General Hospital and University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont., bDepartment of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Western University, London, Ont., and cDivision of Nephrology, Kidney Research Centre, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ont., Canada
                Author notes
                *Charmaine E. Lok, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Toronto General Hospital, 8NU-844, 200 Elizabeth Street, Toronto, ON M5G 2C4 (Canada), E-Mail
                366477 PMC4241642 Nephron Extra 2014;4:159-167
                © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Open Access License: This is an Open Access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC) (, applicable to the online version of the article only. Distribution permitted for non-commercial purposes only. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 3, Pages: 9
                Original Paper

                Cardiovascular Medicine, Nephrology

                Hemodialysis, Fistula, Cannulation, Infection


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