Hemodialysis access-related complications remain one of the most important sources of morbidity and cost among persons with end-stage renal disease, with total annual costs exceeding $1 billion annually. In this context, the creation and maintenance of an effective hemodialysis vascular access is essential for safe and adequate hemodialysis therapy. Multiple reports have documented the type of vascular access used for dialysis and associated risk of infection and mortality. Undoubtedly, the central venous catheter (CVC) is associated with the greatest risk of infection-related and all-cause mortality compared with the autogenous arteriovenous fistula (AVF) or synthetic graft (AVG). The AVF has the lowest risk of infection, longer patency rates, greater quality of life, and lower all-cause mortality compared with the AVG or CVC. It is for these reasons that the National Kidney Foundation's Kidney Disease Outcome Quality Initiative Clinical Practice Guidelines for Vascular Access recommend the early placement and use of the AVF among at least 50% of incident hemodialysis patients. This report presents catheter-related mortality and calls for heightened awareness of catheter-related complications.
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