Comparison of Procedure Cost for Thrombectomy of Arteriovenous Fistulas and Grafts


Address correspondence to: Donald Schon, Arizona Kidney Disease and Hypertension Center, Phoenix, AZ and the University of Arizona Health Science Center, Tucson, AZ, or e-mail:


Expenditures on dialysis vascular access now exceed $2.5 Billion annually in the US. Studies suggest that significant savings could be achieved by increasing arteriovenous fistula (AVF) prevalence to >65%. It is common but unsubstantiated opinion that AVF have lower maintenance costs than arteriovenous grafts (AVG). This manuscript tests this hypothesis by direct comparison. Equipment utilization time and supply utilization on 110 thrombectomy procedures on AVF and 258 on AVG were compared. Procedures techniques were standardized within one facility and procedures performed by a multiple but limited number of operators. There were no significant differences in demographic variables and comorbid factors between groups. Time to complete AVF thrombectomy was 1.7 times that for AVG. In addition, major supplies used such as wires and balloons were also significantly greater. Interventionists who took longer than average to thrombectomize AVF took longer than average to thrombectomize AVG. The prevalence of arterial inflow lesions was 1.5 greater in thrombosed AVF versus Thrombosed AVG. Procedure costs when analyzed in terms of procedure time, room utilization, staff, and equipment are significantly greater for thrombosed AVF than thrombosed AVG.