Stenosis surveillance of hemodialysis grafts by duplex ultrasound reduces hospitalizations and cost of care

Neville R. Dossabhoy, Sunanda J. Ram, Raja Nassar, Jack Work, J. Mark Eason, William D. Paulson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


Most recent randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have found that hemodialysis graft surveillance combined with preemptive correction of stenosis does not prolong graft survival. Nevertheless, such programs may be justified if they reduce other adverse outcomes or decrease the cost of care. This study tested this hypothesis by applying a secondary analysis to our original RCT. This study of 101 patients evaluated correction of stenosis based upon blood flow (Q) and stenosis surveillance. Patients were randomly assigned to control, flow, or stenosis groups, and were followed for up to 28 months. Q was measured monthly by ultrasound dilution; stenosis was measured quarterly by duplex ultrasound. Stenosis of ≥ 50% was corrected by percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) after referral for angiography. Referral criteria were: control group, clinical criteria; flow group, Q < 600 ml/min or clinical criteria; stenosis group, stenosis > 50% or clinical criteria. We compared access-related hospitalizations and cost of care, and use of central venous dialysis catheters (CVCs), among the three groups. Hospitalization rates were higher in the control and flow groups than in the stenosis group (0.50, 0.57, 0.18/patient-year, respectively [p < 0.01]), and hospitalization costs were lowest in the stenosis group (p = 0.026). The stenosis group had a trend toward lowest CVC rates (0.44, 0.32, 0.20/patient-year, respectively [p = 0.20]). The costs of care were higher in the control and flow groups than in the stenosis group ($3727, $4839, $3306/patient-year, respectively [p = 0.015]). The costs of stenosis ($142/patient-year) and Q ($279/patient-year) measurements were minimal compared to the total cost of access-related care. In conclusion, stenosis surveillance by duplex ultrasound combined with preemptive correction yielded reduced hospitalization rates and costs, reduced total cost of access-related care, and a trend of reduced CVC rates. In contrast, flow surveillance did not yield a significant benefit. Stenosis surveillance provides important benefits that may justify application of such programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-557
Number of pages8
JournalSeminars in dialysis
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology

Cite this