Purpose: Maintenance of hemodialysis access grafts represents an enormous social and clinical problem. Current grafts and graft salvage techniques are inadequate. Consequently, there has been increasing interest in the use of minimally invasive catheter techniques to prophylactically treat stenoses in functioning arteriovenous grafts. Prophylactic balloon angioplasty has been widely suggested as prolonging assisted primary patency. We have performed a prospective randomized trial to compare patients who underwent percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) for graft stenoses >50% with a control group that received no intervention. Our hypothesis was that to be efficacious a minimal benefit of 20% prolongation in patency would be necessary. Methods: Color flow duplex scanning was used to detect >50% stenoses in functioning expanded polytetrafluoroethylene grafts. Patients were then subjected to confirmatory angiographic evaluation. Those who had angiographic stenoses >50% were randomized to balloon angioplasty or observation. Patients were followed-up with duplex scanning every 2 months. Statistical analysis was performed using the Kaplan-Meier technique. Although demographically the patient groups were well matched, there were more prior interventions and concurrent central stenoses in the treatment group. Outcomes were graft thrombosis, graft dysfunction that precluded dialysis, and six or more PTA procedures within 18 months. Results: In the treatment and observation groups, the 6-month patency rates were 69% ± 7% and 70% ± 7%, respectively. The 12-month patency rates for the treatment and observation groups were 51% ± 6% and 47% ± 4%, respectively. There was no significant difference between these two groups (p = 0.97), with an 80% confidence limit for detection of a difference greater than 20%. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that a generic approach of PTA to treat all polytetrafluoroethylene grafts with stenoses >50% does not prolong patency and cannot be supported.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine