Achieving the goal of the Fistula First Breakthrough Initiative for prevalent maintenance hemodialysis patients

Janet R. Lynch, Haimanot Wasse, Nancy C. Armistead, William M. McClellan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Background: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) established a national goal of 66% arteriovenous fistula (AVF) use in prevalent hemodialysis (HD) patients for the current Fistula First Breakthrough Initiative. The feasibility of achieving the goal has been debated. We examined contemporary patterns of AVF use in prevalent patients to assess the potential for attaining the goal by dialysis facilities and their associated End-Stage Renal Disease Networks in the United States. Study Design Observational study. Setting & Participants US dialysis facilities with a mean HD patient census of 10 or more during the 40-month study period, January 2007-April 2010. Outcomes & Measurements Mean changes in facility-level AVF use and percentage of facilities achieving the 66% prevalent AVF goal within the United States and each network. Results Mean prevalent AVF use within dialysis facilities increased from 45.3% to 55.5% (P < 0.001) in the United States, but varied substantially across regions. The percentage of facilities achieving the 66% AVF use goal increased from 6.4% to 19.0% (P < 0.001). During the 40 months, 35.9% of facilities achieved the CMS goal for at least 1 month. On average, these facilities sustained mean use <66% for 12.9 ± 11.7 (SD) months. Case-mix and other facility characteristics explained 20% of the variation in proportion of facility patients using an AVF in the last measured month, leaving substantial unexplained variability. Limitations This analysis is limited by the absence of facility case-mix data over time, and the national scope of the initiative precludes use of a comparison group. Conclusions Achieving the CMS goal of 66% prevalent AVF use is feasible for individual dialysis facilities. There is a need to decrease regional variation before the CMS goal can be fully realized for US HD facilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-89
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Arteriovenous fistula
  • end-stage renal disease
  • hemodialysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


Dive into the research topics of 'Achieving the goal of the Fistula First Breakthrough Initiative for prevalent maintenance hemodialysis patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this