Background: Poor vessel quality and limited life expectancy in the elderly may make arteriovenous fistula (AVF) less ideal than arteriovenous graft (AVG) or catheter for vascular access (VA) in hemodialysis (HD). Methods: A total of 946 adult incident HD patients from clinical research center registry for end-stage renal disease prospective cohort in South Korea were analyzed for outcomes with AVF and AVG. Results: Overall, AVF was associated with better patient survival only in male (p < 0.001) and diabetic (p = 0.004) patients, although it was superior to AVG in access patency, regardless of diabetes mellitus status and gender. AVG (vs. AVF; hazard ratio (HR) 2.282; 95% CI 1.071-4.861; p = 0.032) was associated with poor patient survival. In elderly patients (≥65 years), AVF was associated with survival benefit only in male (p < 0.001) and diabetic (p = 0.04) patients, and with better access patency only in female (p = 0.05) and diabetic (p = 0.04) patients. AVG (vs. AVF; HR 3.158; 95% CI 1.080-9.238; p = 0.036) was associated with poor patient survival. In septuagenarian patients, AVF was associated only with survival benefit (p = 0.01) and there was no advantage in access patency (p = 0.12). However, AVF was superior to AVG in both access patency (p = 0.001) and patient survival (p = 0.03) even with propensity matching. Conclusion: AVF is the more desirable VA and its survival benefits warrant its consideration in septuagenarian patients although a prolonged life expectancy is essential to realize the potential benefits of AVF.
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