Publications by authors named "Devin S Zarkowsky"

29 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Depression Predicts Non-Home Discharge After Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair.

Ann Vasc Surg 2021 Jan 24. Epub 2021 Jan 24.

Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA. Electronic address:

Background: Mental health's impact on vascular surgical patients has long been overlooked. While outside the expertise of most surgeons, understanding the role that depression plays in the postoperative course could provide additional insight into opportunities to improve surgical outcomes and healthcare value. Additionally, non-home discharge (NHD) to a rehabilitation or skilled nursing facility after surgery is associated with impaired quality of life and higher postdischarge complications, readmissions, and mortality. We hypothesized that depression would be associated with an increased risk for NHD following abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair.

Methods: Nonruptured AAA repair cases were identified from the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) using ICD-9 codes between 2005 and 2014. Depression, comorbidities, postoperative complications, and discharge destination were evaluated using statistical tests as appropriate to the data. A hierarchical multivariable logistic regression controlling for hospital level variation was used to examine the independent association between depression, and the primary outcome of NHD controlling for median income and confounders meeting P < 0.05 on univariate analysis.

Results: There were 99,934 total cases analyzed, of which 4,755 (4.8%) were diagnosed with depression and 10,618 (11.9%) required NHD. Patients with depression were younger, more likely to be women, white, have diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, tobacco use, and more likely to experience a postoperative complication. On adjusted multivariable analysis, patients with depression were more likely to require NHD (odds ratio [OR] 1.87, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.68-2.08, c-statistic = 0.82). On stratified analysis by operative approach, depression had a larger effect estimate in endovascular repair (OR 2.19; 95% CI: 1.90-2.52) versus open repair (OR 1.60; 95% CI: 1.38-1.87).

Conclusions: In a nationally representative sample, patients with depression were more likely to require NHD after AAA repair. This study highlights the importance that depression plays in postoperative outcomes after AAA repair. Furthermore, addressing mental health preoperatively has the potential to improve outcomes in patients undergoing AAA repair.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.avsg.2020.12.019DOI Listing
January 2021

A Novel Preoperative Risk Score for Non-Home Discharge After Elective Thoracic Endovascular Aortic Repair.

J Vasc Surg 2020 Oct 13. Epub 2020 Oct 13.

Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA. Electronic address:

Introduction: Non-home discharge (NHD) to a rehabilitation or skilled nursing facility after vascular surgery is poorly described despite its large impact on patients. Understanding post-surgical NHD risk is essential to providing adequate preoperative counseling and shared decision making, particularly for elective surgeries. We aimed to identify independent predictors of NHD following elective thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) for thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAA) and to create a clinically useful preoperative risk score.

Methods: Elective TEVAR cases for descending TAA were queried from the SVS Vascular Quality Initiative 2014-2018. A risk score was created by splitting the data set into two-thirds for model development and one-third for validation. A parsimonious stepwise hierarchical multivariable logistic regression controlling for hospital level variation was performed in the development dataset, and the beta-coefficients were used to assign points for a risk score. This score was then cross-validated and model performance assessed.

Results: Overall, 1,469 patients were included and 213 (14.5%) required NHD. At baseline, patients who required NHD were more likely to be ≥ 80 years old (35.2% vs. 19.4%), female (58.7% vs. 40.6%), functionally dependent (42.3% vs. 24.0%), anemic (46.5% vs. 27.8%), and have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (41.3% vs. 33.4%), congestive heart failure (18.8% vs. 11.1%), and American Society of Anesthesiologists class ≥ 4 (51.6% vs. 39.8%; all P<0.05). Multivariable analysis in the development group identified independent predictors of NHD, which were used to create an 18-point risk score. Patients were stratified into three groups based upon their risk score: low risk (0-7 points; n=563) with an NHD rate of 4.3%, moderate risk (8-11 points; n=701) with an NHD rate of 17.0%, and high risk (≥ 12 points; n=205) with an NHD rate of 34.2%. The risk score had good predictive ability with c-statistic=0.75 for model development and c-statistic=0.72 in the validation dataset.

Conclusions: This novel risk score can predict NHD following TEVAR for TAA using characteristics that can be identified preoperatively. Utilization of this score may allow for improved risk assessment, preoperative counseling, and shared decision making.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2020.10.005DOI Listing
October 2020

Deep Learning and Multivariable Models Select EVAR Patients for Short-Stay Discharge.

Vasc Endovascular Surg 2021 Jan 10;55(1):18-25. Epub 2020 Sep 10.

The Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, 8784University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA.

Objectives: We sought to develop a prediction score with data from the Vascular Quality Initiative (VQI) EVAR in efforts to assist endovascular specialists in deciding whether or not a patient is appropriate for short-stay discharge.

Background: Small series describe short-stay discharge following elective EVAR. Our study aims to quantify characteristics associated with this decision.

Methods: The VQI EVAR and NSQIP datasets were queried. Patients who underwent elective EVAR recorded in VQI, between 1/2010-5/2017 were split 2:1 into test and analytic cohorts via random number assignment. Cross-reference with the Medicare claims database confirmed all-cause mortality data. Bootstrap sampling was employed in model. Deep learning algorithms independently evaluated each dataset as a sensitivity test.

Results: Univariate outcomes, including 30-day survival, were statistically worse in the DD group when compared to the SD group (all P < 0.05). A prediction score, SD-EVAR, derived from the VQI EVAR dataset including pre- and intra-op variables that discriminate between SD and DD was externally validated in NSQIP (Pearson correlation coefficient = 0.79, P < 0.001); deep learning analysis concurred. This score suggests 66% of EVAR patients may be appropriate for short-stay discharge. A free smart phone app calculating short-stay discharge potential is available through QxMD Calculate https://qxcalc.app.link/vqidis.

Conclusions: Selecting patients for short-stay discharge after EVAR is possible without increasing harm. The majority of infrarenal AAA patients treated with EVAR in the United States fit a risk profile consistent with short-stay discharge, representing a significant cost-savings potential to the healthcare system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1538574420954299DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7792630PMC
January 2021

Regional Market Competition is Associated with Aneurysm Diameter at the Time of EVAR.

Ann Vasc Surg 2021 Jan 29;70:190-196. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy, Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD. Electronic address:

Background: Local market competition has been previously associated with more aggressive surgical decision-making. For example, more local competition for organs is associated with acceptance of lower quality kidney offers in transplant surgery. We hypothesized that market competition would be associated with the size of an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) at the time of elective endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR).

Methods: We included all elective EVARs reported in the Vascular Quality Initiative database (2012-2018). Small AAAs were defined as a maximum diameter <5.5 cm in men or <5.0 cm in women. We calculated the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI), a measure of physician market concentration (higher HHI = less market competition), for each US census region. Multilevel regression was used to examine the association between the size of AAA at EVAR and HHI, clustering by region.

Results: Of 37,914 EVARs performed, 15,379 (40.6%) were for small AAAs. There was significant variation in proportion of EVARs performed for small AAAs across regions (P < 0.001). The South had both the highest proportion of EVARs for small AAAs (44.2%) as well as the highest market competition (HHI 50), whereas the West had the lowest proportion of EVARs for small AAAs (35.0%) and the lowest market competition (HHI 107). Adjusting for patient characteristics, each 10 unit increase in HHI was associated with a 0.1 mm larger maximum AAA diameter at the time of EVAR (95% CI 0.04-0.24 mm, P = 0.005).

Conclusions: Physician market concentration is independently associated with AAA diameter at time of elective EVAR. These data suggest that physician decision-making for EVAR is impacted by market competition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.avsg.2020.07.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7744359PMC
January 2021

Living in a Food Desert is Associated with 30-day Readmission after Revascularization for Chronic Limb-Threatening Ischemia.

Ann Vasc Surg 2021 Jan 3;70:36-42. Epub 2020 Jul 3.

Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA. Electronic address:

Background: Living in a food desert has been associated with increased cardiovascular risk; however, its impact on vascular surgery outcomes is unknown. This study hypothesized that living in a food desert would be associated with increased postoperative complications in patients undergoing revascularization for chronic limb-threatening ischemia (CLTI).

Methods: This was a single-center retrospective analysis of open and endovascular infrainguinal revascularization for CLTI between April 2013 and December 2015. A food desert was defined using the US Department of Agriculture's Food Access Research Atlas. Bivariate analyses were performed appropriate to the data. Binary logistic regression was performed assessing the association of food desert status with 30-day postoperative complications.

Results: In total, 152 cases were included, of which 17% (n = 26) resided in food deserts. Patients in the food desert cohort were less likely to be low income (27% vs. 54%, P = 0.01). Living in a food desert was associated with increased 30-day readmission [(39% vs. 20%, P = 0.04), unadjusted OR: 2.5 (CI: 1.0-6.2)]. FD cases also had a higher proportion of wound complications [12 (46%) vs. 28 (22%), P = 0.01)]. The overall wound complication rate was 27% with the majority being due to infections (63%). On multivariable analysis, food desert status remained associated with increased odds of 30-day readmission (OR: 2.7, CI: 1.2-8.4, P = 0.047). Reasons for readmission in the food desert group were all due to wound complications (100% vs. 72%, P = 0.08).

Conclusions: Living in a food desert was associated with nearly three times the odds of 30-day readmission after lower extremity revascularization for CLTI. This increase in readmission may be explained through increased wound complications. These findings support considering access to healthy food as a potential modifiable risk factor for adverse outcomes, particularly in CLTI revascularization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.avsg.2020.06.052DOI Listing
January 2021

Increased Reintervention After Infrainguinal Revascularization for Chronic Limb-Threatening Ischemia in Women.

Ann Vasc Surg 2020 Nov 17;69:307-316. Epub 2020 Jun 17.

Division of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA. Electronic address:

Background: The objective of this study was to determine if there are gender-based differences in major adverse limb events after revascularization for chronic limb-threatening ischemia (CLTI) and to identify potential associated factors.

Methods: This was a single-center retrospective analysis of 151 patients who underwent infrainguinal revascularization for CLTI between April 2013 and December 2015. Only the first revascularized limb was included in patients with bilateral CLTI. Demographic data and clinical outcomes were collected using electronic medical records.

Results: The mean age was 68.1 ± 12.1 years, and 55 of 151 (36%) were women. Women were less likely to carry a diagnosis of hyperlipidemia (60% vs. 83%; P = 0.003), less likely to be on a statin medication (58% vs. 81%; P = 0.004), and less likely to undergo an infrapopliteal revascularization (60% vs. 77%; P = 0.04) compared with men. There were no differences between genders with regard to the Society for Vascular Surgery Wound Ischemia and Foot Infection stage at presentation or utilization of open versus endovascular intervention. During the median follow-up time of 678 days (interquartile range, 167-1277 days), 48 of 151 patients (32%) underwent reintervention on the threatened limb and 23 of 151 patients (15%) underwent major amputation. Women were more likely than men to need reintervention (P = 0.02). There was no difference between genders for major amputation (P = 0.48) or overall survival (P = 0.65). In a multivariable Cox proportional hazards model for reintervention that included gender, preoperative body mass index, hyperlipidemia, preoperative anticoagulation, and ischemia score ≥2 (all P < 0.20 in univariate analysis), female gender (hazard ratio [HR], 1.96 [1.10-3.54]; P = 0.02) and hyperlipidemia (HR, 2.32 [1.07-5.03]; P = 0.03) were significantly associated with increased rates of reintervention.

Conclusions: Women undergoing lower extremity revascularization for CLTI were more likely to require reintervention compared with men but had similar rates of limb preservation. Further study is required to understand potential causative factors to improve treatment outcomes in women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.avsg.2020.06.006DOI Listing
November 2020

Natural history of acute pediatric iliofemoral artery thrombosis treated with anticoagulation.

J Vasc Surg 2020 12 8;72(6):2027-2034. Epub 2020 Apr 8.

Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif. Electronic address:

Objective: Acute iliofemoral artery thrombosis (IFAT) can occur in critically ill neonates and infants who require indwelling arterial cannulas for monitoring or as a consequence of cardiac catheterization. Guidelines suggest treatment with anticoagulation, but evidence supporting the optimal duration of therapy and the role of surveillance ultrasound is limited. The objectives of this study were to characterize the kinetics of thrombus resolution and to define an appropriate duration of anticoagulation and interval for surveillance ultrasound.

Methods: This was a single-center retrospective cohort study of pediatric patients with acute IFAT from 2011 to 2019. Medical records and vascular laboratory studies were reviewed. Patients with one or more surveillance ultrasound examinations were included. Thrombus resolution was defined as multiphasic flow throughout the index limb without evidence of echogenic intraluminal material by ultrasound. Time to resolution of thrombus was assessed using Kaplan-Meier analysis.

Results: Fifty-four limbs in 50 patients were identified with acute IFAT. The median age was 9.9 weeks (interquartile range, 3.1-21.7 weeks), with a median weight of 4.2 kg (interquartile range, 3.3-5.5 kg). The majority of limbs (65%) with acute IFAT presented with a diminished pedal Doppler signal, commonly after cardiac catheterization (55%). Forty-eight (89%) limbs had complete arterial occlusion on index ultrasound, and flow could not be detected below the ankle in 48%. The median number of ultrasound examinations per limb was three (range, two to seven), and 61% of limbs had a surveillance ultrasound within 7 days of diagnosis. At 14 and 30 days, 33% and 64% of patients, respectively, treated with anticoagulation had an estimated complete resolution of thrombus. Nine (17%) patients did not receive anticoagulation, and only two of these patients experienced IFAT resolution. At the time of diagnosis, one patient underwent open thrombectomy because of a contraindication to anticoagulation, and one patient was treated with thrombolysis. There were no instances of tissue loss or amputation CONCLUSIONS: Management of IFAT with anticoagulation resulted in successful short-term outcomes. Based on the observed rate of resolution, management should start with anticoagulation, followed by surveillance ultrasound at 2-week intervals. With treatment by anticoagulation, resolution can be expected to occur in one-third of patients every 2 weeks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2020.02.042DOI Listing
December 2020

Antegrade common femoral artery closure device use is associated with decreased complications.

J Vasc Surg 2020 11 9;72(5):1610-1617.e1. Epub 2020 Mar 9.

Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, Calif. Electronic address:

Objective: Antegrade femoral artery access is often used for ipsilateral infrainguinal peripheral vascular intervention. However, the use of closure devices (CD) for antegrade access (AA) is still considered outside the instructions for use for most devices. We hypothesized that CD use for antegrade femoral access would not be associated with an increased odds of access site complications.

Methods: The Vascular Quality Initiative was queried from 2010 to 2019 for infrainguinal peripheral vascular interventions performed via femoral AA. Patients who had a cutdown or multiple access sites were excluded. Cases were then stratified into whether a CD was used or not. Hierarchical multivariable logistic regressions controlling for hospital-level variation were used to examine the independent association between CD use and access site complications. A sensitivity analysis using coarsened exact matching was performed using factors different between treatment groups to reduce imbalance between the groups.

Results: Overall, 11,562 cases were identified and 5693 (49.2%) used a CD. Patients treated with a CD were less likely to be white (74.1% vs 75.2%), have coronary artery disease (29.7% vs 33.4%), use aspirin (68.7% vs 72.4%), and have heparin reversal with protamine (15.5% vs 25.6%; all P < .05). CD patients were more likely to be obese (31.6% vs 27.0%), have an elective operation (82.6% vs 80.1%), ultrasound-guided access (75.5% vs 60.6%), and a larger access sheath (6.0 ± 1.0 F vs 5.5 ± 1.0 F; P < .05 for all). CD cases were less likely to develop any access site hematoma (2.55% vs 3.53%; P < .01) or a hematoma requiring reintervention (0.63% vs 1.26%; P < .01) and had no difference in access site stenosis or occlusion (0.30% vs 0.22%; P = .47) compared with no CD. On multivariable analysis, CD cases had significantly decreased odds of developing any access site hematoma (odds ratio, 0.75; 95% confidence interval, 0.59-0.95) and a hematoma requiring intervention (odds ratio, 0.56; 95% confidence interval, 0.38-0.81). A sensitivity analysis after coarsened exact matching confirmed these findings.

Conclusions: In this nationally representative sample, CD use for AA was associated with a lower odds of hematoma in selected patients. Extending the instructions for use indications for CDs to include femoral AA may decrease the incidence of access site complications, patient exposure to reintervention, and costs to the health care system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2020.01.052DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7718979PMC
November 2020

Sex does not have an impact on perioperative transfemoral carotid artery stenting outcomes among octogenarians.

J Vasc Surg 2020 10 24;72(4):1405-1412. Epub 2020 Feb 24.

Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md. Electronic address:

Objective: Transfemoral carotid artery stenting (CAS) has been validated as an acceptable alternative to carotid endarterectomy in patients at high risk for open surgery. There are variable sex- and age-based differences in transfemoral CAS outcomes of published randomized controlled trials. The aim of our study was to evaluate sex-based differences in perioperative outcomes after transfemoral CAS performed in octogenarians.

Methods: The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program targeted vascular module was queried for all patients ≥80 years of age who underwent transfemoral CAS between 2011 and 2017. Symptomatic status was defined as a history of prior ipsilateral stroke, transient ischemic attack, or amaurosis fugax. The primary outcome was a composite outcome of perioperative (30-day) stroke or death. Outcomes were compared for male vs female patients and stratified by symptomatic status using univariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses adjusting for emergent status, symptomatic status, comorbidities, and use of an embolic protection device.

Results: Overall, there were 143 patients ≥80 years of age who underwent transfemoral CAS during the study period, including 95 men (66.4%) and 48 women (33.6%). Race (white, 88.0% vs 85.4%), symptomatic status (30.9% vs 29.2%), and degree of stenosis (severe, 71.6% vs 62.5%) were not significantly different for men vs women (P ≥ .27). Periprocedural stroke/death occurred in six men (6.4%) vs two women (4.2%; P = .59) and did not significantly differ when stratified according to symptomatic (6.9% vs 7.1%; P = .98) and asymptomatic (6.2% vs 2.9%; P = .49) status. Based on multivariable analysis, independent factors associated with the composite end point included emergent vs elective status (adjusted odds ratio OR [aOR], 20.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.25-183) and failure to use an embolic protection device (aOR, 2.86; 95% CI, 1.59-50.0). Sex was not significantly associated with the primary outcome after risk adjustment (aOR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.28-3.28).

Conclusions: We found no sex-based differences in risk of perioperative stroke/death among patients ≥80 years of age undergoing transfemoral CAS. Our study validates previous studies showing a high rate of perioperative complications after transfemoral CAS in octogenarians and suggests that the decision to use this technology in older patients should be determined by patients' anatomic and medical risk factors irrespective of sex.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2019.12.034DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7721206PMC
October 2020

Midterm survival after endovascular repair of intact abdominal aortic aneurysms is improving over time.

J Vasc Surg 2020 08 21;72(2):556-565.e6. Epub 2020 Feb 21.

Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass. Electronic address:

Objective: There is a growing body of literature raising concerns about the long-term durability of endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs), suggesting that long-term outcomes may be better after open AAA repair. However, the data investigating these long-term outcomes largely originate from early in the endovascular era and therefore do not account for increasing clinical experience and technologic improvements. We investigated whether 4-year outcomes after EVAR and open repair have improved over time.

Methods: We identified all EVARs and open repairs for intact infrarenal AAA within the Vascular Quality Initiative database (2003-2018). We then stratified patients by procedure year into treatment cohorts of four years: 2003-2006, 2007-2010, 2011-2014, and 2015-2018. We used Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox proportional hazards models to assess whether the survival after EVAR or open repair changed over time. In addition, we propensity matched EVAR and open repairs for each time cohort to investigate whether the relative survival benefit of EVAR over open repair changed over time.

Results: We included 42,293 EVARs (increasing from 549 performed between 2003 and 2006 to 25,433 between 2015 and 2018) and 5189 open AAA repairs (increasing from 561 to 2306). Four-year survival increased for the periods 2003-2006, 2007-2010, 2011-2014, and 2015-2018 after both EVAR (76.6% vs 79.7% vs 83.5% vs 87.3%; P < .001) and open repair (82.2% vs 85.8% vs 87.7% vs 88.9%; P = .026). After risk adjustment, compared with 2003-2006, hazard of mortality up to 4 years after EVAR was lower for those performed between 2011 and 2014 (hazard ratio [HR], 0.72; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.59-0.87; P = .001) and for those performed between 2015 and 2018 (HR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.46-0.68; P < .001). In contrast, the risk-adjusted hazard of mortality was similar between open repair cohorts (2011-2014: HR, 0.81 [95% CI, 0.61-1.08; P = .15]; and 2015-2018: HR, 0.86 [95% CI, 0.64-1.17; P = .34]). Finally, in matched EVAR and open repairs, there was no difference in mortality in the first three cohorts, whereas the hazard of mortality was lower for the 2015-2018 cohort (HR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.51-0.84; P = .001).

Conclusions: Four-year survival improved in more recent years after EVAR but not after open repair. This finding suggests that midterm outcomes after EVAR are improving, perhaps because of technologic improvements and increased experience, information that should be considered by surgeons and policymakers alike in evaluating the value of contemporary EVAR and open AAA repair.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2019.10.082DOI Listing
August 2020

Functional outcomes of arteriovenous fistulas recruited with regional anesthesia.

J Vasc Surg 2020 02;71(2):584-591.e1

Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif; Department of Surgery, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, Calif. Electronic address:

Objective: Regional anesthesia (RA)-induced vasodilation increases the proportion of patients with vein anatomy suitable for arteriovenous fistula (AVF) creation. The functional outcomes of AVFs created with veins initially small for size on preoperative duplex ultrasound mapping (≤2.4 mm) that are recruited under RA have not been clearly defined. We aimed to evaluate freedom from revision or thrombosis, time to first cannulation, and reintervention rates of AVFs created with veins recruited after induction of RA.

Methods: A prospectively maintained quality improvement database from a single institution was queried for patients who had dialysis access created under RA. We compared AVFs created according to the original surgical plan (preoperative minimum vein diameter >2.5 mm) with AVFs recruited with RA (preoperative minimum vein diameter ≤2.4 mm). End points included freedom from revision or thrombosis, time to first cannulation, and reintervention rates.

Results: Between May 2014 and April 2018, there were 208 dialysis access cases performed under RA. Excluding grafts, revisions, patients with previous ipsilateral AVFs, and those without preoperative ultrasound vein mapping, 135 patients were included in our analysis. Induction of RA with intraoperative duplex ultrasound allowed a change in surgical plan in 55 of 135 (42%) patients (recruited with RA), including 31 patients originally scheduled for an arteriovenous graft (mean preoperative distal upper arm cephalic vein diameter of 1.8 mm [standard deviation, 0.2 mm]) who were converted to an AVF (12 brachiobasilic, 11 brachiocephalic, and 8 radiocephalic). The remaining patients in the group of AVFs recruited with RA included 13 scheduled for brachiobasilic configurations who were converted to brachiocephalic or radiocephalic AVFs and 11 scheduled for brachiocephalic AVFs who were converted to radiocephalic AVFs. Comparing AVFs created according to the original surgical plan vs AVFs recruited with RA, there were no differences in reintervention rates (48% vs 49%; P = .90) or functional outcomes at 6 months (60% vs 65% used on hemodialysis [P = .58] and 7% vs 2% primary failure [P = .19]).

Conclusions: In this series, RA increased the proportion of patients who underwent AVF creation without compromising functional outcomes. Routine use of RA in access surgery could have significant implications in meeting national guidelines for autogenous access in the prevalent hemodialysis population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2019.03.083DOI Listing
February 2020

The Vascular Quality Initiative 30-day stroke/death risk score calculator after transfemoral carotid artery stenting.

J Vasc Surg 2020 02 13;71(2):526-534. Epub 2019 Sep 13.

Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, University of California San Diego, San Diego, Calif. Electronic address:

Objective: Carotid artery stenting (CAS) was introduced as an alternative carotid revascularization procedure in patients deemed to be at high risk for carotid endarterectomy. Although techniques and selection criteria for patients have dramatically improved, CAS continues to have higher risk of stroke and death in comparison to carotid endarterectomy. Several risk factors are known to be associated with worse outcomes. Whereas knowledge of these independent factors is helpful, clinical decision-making is further refined when these are considered in aggregate. This study aimed to develop a score to predict the risk of stroke/death after transfemoral CAS (TFCAS).

Methods: We analyzed the Vascular Quality Initiative CAS data set from 2010 to 2018. Lesions due to trauma, dissection, or transcarotid artery stenting and cases performed without an embolic protection device were excluded. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression methods with bootstrapping (1000 repetitions) were used to identify predictors associated with 30-day stroke/death. Stepwise backward selection for variables was used to achieve model parsimony. A risk score was made by converting regression coefficients for each predictor to integers from which probability was calculated. Scores were grouped into simplified categories.

Results: We identified 10,753 patients undergoing TFCAS during the study period with a combined 30-day stroke/death rate of 4.1%. On multivariable adjustment, independent predictors of 30-day stroke/death included age (odds ratio [OR], 1.05; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03-1.06; P < .001), nonwhite race (OR, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.16-1.74; P = .001), diabetes (OR,1.34; 95% CI, 1.08-1.67; P = .01), coronary artery disease (OR, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.13-1.73; P = .001), congestive heart failure (OR, 1.41; 95% CI, 1.07-1.85; P = .02), symptomatic status (OR, 2.11; 95% CI, 1.64-2.72; P < .001), and contralateral occlusion (OR, 1.64; 95% CI, 1.22-2.19; P = .001). On the other hand, preoperative use of statins (OR, 0.074; 95% CI, 0.59-0.93; P = .02) and dual antiplatelet therapy (P2Y inhibitors and aspirin; OR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.32-0.66; P < .001) were associated with a significant reduction in stroke/death after TFCAS. The model had a C statistic of 69.0%. The coefficients of these predictors were used to develop a risk score calculator that estimates the probability of 30-day stroke/death after TFCAS.

Conclusions: In an analysis of 10,753 patients undergoing TFCAS between 2010 and 2018, significant predictors of perioperative stroke or death included old age, nonwhite race, symptomatic status, diabetes, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and contralateral occlusion in addition to perioperative dual antiplatelet therapy and statin use. These variables were used to develop a risk score calculator that estimates the probability of 30-day stroke/death after TFCAS. External validation of this tool in different populations of patients and data sets is warranted to evaluate its predictive performance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2019.05.051DOI Listing
February 2020

Elective infrainguinal lower extremity bypass for claudication is associated with high postoperative intensive care utilization.

J Vasc Surg 2019 Jun;69(6):1863-1873.e1

Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, University of California San Diego Health System, San Diego, Calif. Electronic address:

Background: The overall use of intensive care units (ICUs) in the United States has been steadily increasing and is associated with tremendous health care costs. We suspect that the burden of ICU utilization after elective infrainguinal lower extremity bypass (LEB) procedures is high, despite relatively low risks of complications in the immediate postoperative period. We sought to identify the burden of ICU utilization after elective LEB in patients with claudication.

Methods: We queried the Premier Healthcare Database for all adult patients undergoing first recorded elective infrainguinal LEB for claudication from 2009 to 2015. Baseline characteristics and ICU utilization on postoperative day 0 (POD 0) were identified for each patient using Premier room and board chargemaster codes. A bivariate logistic regression was performed and postestimation concordance statistics were calculated to identify predictors of postoperative ICU vs regular surgical floor admission immediately after surgery.

Results: There were 6010 patients who met the selection criteria, of whom 2772 (46.1%) were admitted to the ICU and 3238 (53.9%) to the regular surgical floor on POD 0. Whereas patient-level factors were responsible for minor differences found in postoperative admission to the ICU after elective LEB, hospital characteristics made up the majority of variation in admission practices. Specifically, patients undergoing elective infrainguinal LEB in rural, nonteaching, small hospitals and those in certain geographic regions were more likely to be admitted to the ICU than to the floor (all, P < .001). Patient-level factors were poorly predictive of admission to the ICU immediately postoperatively, with C statistics ranging from 0.50 to 0.53. In contrast, hospital-level factors had higher C statistics ranging from 0.51 to 0.66, with geographic location being the strongest predictor of post-LEB ICU admission. There were no significant differences in the incidence of postoperative wound complications, major adverse limb events, major adverse cardiac events, or in-hospital mortality between groups (all, P ≥ .32). The median total hospital cost was $2340 higher for ICU compared with floor admission ($13,273 [interquartile range, $10,136-$17,883] vs $10,927 [interquartile range, $8342-$14,523]; P < .001).

Conclusions: Nearly half of patients are admitted to an ICU directly after elective infrainguinal LEB for claudication. This practice is associated with significantly higher hospital cost and is predominantly influenced by hospital-level rather than by patient-level factors. Perioperative morbidity and mortality were similar regardless of postoperative disposition. To minimize ICU utilization, postoperative care intensity should be determined by clinical severity of the patient rather than by hospital routine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2018.08.182DOI Listing
June 2019

Extending endovascular aneurysm repair to more patients without better outcomes.

J Vasc Surg 2019 May 26;69(5):1412-1420.e1. Epub 2018 Nov 26.

Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH.

Objective: This study quantifies the survival and outcomes associated with endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) patients treated in two eras. We hypothesized that both end points will improve over time.

Methods: Patients receiving EVAR between January 2003 and May 2017 contained within the Vascular Quality Initiative data set were examined. Those patients treated between January 2003 and December 2007 were included in the early era, and those treated between January 2012 and December 2015 were considered late era. Baseline demographics, technical variables, and outcomes were compared with appropriate statistical tests. Survival was estimated with Kaplan-Meier life-table analysis. Cox proportional hazards modeling analyzed the relationship between repair era and survival; the repair era's significance was further examined in matched cohorts generated by coarsened exact matching and propensity scoring.

Results: Early era (n = 787) patients demonstrate decreased estimated survival in comparison to those treated in the late era (n = 20,066; log-rank, P < .001). Repair in the late era was not an independent predictor of survival in the Cox model (hazard ratio, 1.06; 95% confidence interval, 0.23-4.95; P = .94). Three different matching methods confirmed a nonsignificant contribution of treatment era to survival suggested by the initial Cox model (all P > .05). Total hospital stays were longer in the late era (3.1 vs 4.2 days; P < .001). Postoperative myocardial infarction and surgical site infections decreased in frequency in the late group, although postoperative vasopressor use became more frequent (all P < .05). Operations became 20% faster, required 27% less contrast material and 29% less crystalloid, and lost 30% less blood over time (all P < .05).

Conclusions: Although EVAR volume increased significantly over time, post-EVAR outcomes of patients do not differ between the early era, 2003 to 2007, and the late era, 2012 to 2015. Aspects of surgical performance improved, but this did not translate into a measurable benefit to patients. Length of hospital stay unexpectedly increased over time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2018.08.170DOI Listing
May 2019

Outcomes and Risk Factors Associated with Prolonged Intubation after EVAR.

Ann Vasc Surg 2018 Jul 23;50:167-172. Epub 2018 Feb 23.

Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH.

Background: Time to discharge has decreased for aortic surgery since the advent of endovascular aortic aneurysm repair (EVAR), partially due to improved perioperative management. We aimed to investigate outcomes and risk factors associated with prolonged intubation following EVAR.

Methods: The Vascular Study Group of New England (VSGNE) database was queried to select all patients who underwent elective EVAR between January 2003 and December 2014. Patients who were not extubated in the operating room were classified as having prolonged intubation. Patients requiring prolonged intubation were compared with those extubated in the operating room using t-test and chi-square statistics. Kaplan-Meier survival analyses estimated all-cause mortality. Independent predictors associated with prolonged intubation, including postoperative pneumonia or respiratory failure, were examined using multivariable logistic regression.

Results: A total of 3,979 patients were identified within the elective EVAR VSGNE data set, among whom 5.2% required prolonged intubation. Patients with prolonged intubation were older, more frequently female, non-Hispanic, had larger aneurysms, and had a more frequent diagnoses of diabetes, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, ejection fraction < 50%, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (all P < 0.05). Respiratory complications occurred in 25.5% of patients with prolonged intubation vs. 1.8% of patients who were extubated in the operating room (P < 0.001). Kaplan-Meier survival estimates suggested patients requiring prolonged intubation after EVAR had significantly lower survivals than those who extubated in the operating room (P < 0.05). On multivariable analysis, independent risk factors associated with prolonged intubation included subjective lack of fitness for open procedure (OR: 4.8, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.5-8.7), ejection fraction < 50% (1.8, 1.3-2.8), and ASA class >3 (1.5, 1.1-1.7).

Conclusions: Prolonged intubation following EVAR is associated with increased risk of postoperative respiratory complications, as well as decreased long-term survival. High-risk patients for prolonged intubation, including those deemed subjectively unfit for an open procedure, ejection fraction < 50% and ASA class >3, may not benefit from an elective EVAR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.avsg.2017.11.063DOI Listing
July 2018

Progression in a Patient With Previously Treated Atherosclerotic Disease.

JAMA Surg 2018 Apr;153(4):380-381

Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, University of California San Francisco Medical Center, San Francisco.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamasurg.2017.6097DOI Listing
April 2018

Aneurysmosis requiring extensive longitudinal care.

J Vasc Surg 2017 05;65(5):1518

Division of Vascular Surgery, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2016.02.061DOI Listing
May 2017

Endovascular aneurysm repair patients who are lost to follow-up have worse outcomes.

J Vasc Surg 2017 06 16;65(6):1625-1635. Epub 2017 Feb 16.

Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy, Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes, Baltimore, Md.

Background: Society for Vascular Surgery practice guidelines recommend 1- and 12-month follow-up with computed tomography imaging for the year after endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR). We describe the incidence, risk factors, and outcomes of EVAR patients who are lost to follow-up (LTF).

Methods: All patients undergoing elective EVAR in the Vascular Quality Initiative (VQI) data set (January 2003-December 2015) were stratified according to long-term follow-up method (in-person vs phone call vs LTF). Mortality was captured for all patients by linkage with the Social Security Death Index. Univariable statistics, Kaplan-Meier estimated survival curves, and Cox proportional hazard modeling were used to compare groups. Coarsened exact matching analysis was then performed to refine the association between LTF and risk of post-EVAR death.

Results: During the study period, 11,309 patients underwent elective EVAR (78% in-person follow-up, 11% phone call follow-up, 11% LTF). On univariable analysis, LTF patients had larger baseline aneurysms, higher American Society of Anesthesiologists scores, more comorbidities, and worse baseline functional status compared to patients with in-person or phone call follow-up (P ≤ .05). Procedural factors (contrast material volume, blood transfusions, postoperative vasopressor use) were higher in the LTF group, as was the incidence of postoperative complications (P ≤ .05). Accordingly, LTF patients had longer postoperative lengths of stay and were less frequently discharged to home (P < .001). Five-year survival was lower for LTF vs phone call follow-up vs in-person follow-up (62% vs 68% vs 84%; P < .001). On multivariable analysis correcting for baseline differences between groups, there was a significantly higher risk of death for both the LTF group (hazard ratio, 6.45; 95% confidence interval, 4.89-8.51) and phone call follow-up group (hazard ratio, 3.48; 95% confidence interval, 2.66-4.57) compared with patients who followed up in person (P < .001). After coarsened exact matching on 30 preoperative and perioperative variables, 5-year survival after EVAR for LTF vs phone call follow-up vs in-person follow-up was 84.9% vs 84.8% vs 91.9%, respectively (log-rank, P < .001). Notably, patients with phone call follow-up had a lower prevalence of documented postoperative imaging compared with patients with in-person follow-up (56.1% vs 85.1%; P < .001).

Conclusions: EVAR patients with more comorbidities and a higher incidence of in-hospital complications tend to be more frequently LTF and ultimately have worse survival outcomes. In-person follow-up is associated with better post-EVAR survival and a higher rate of postoperative imaging. Phone follow-up confers a mortality risk equivalent to lack of follow-up, possibly as a result of inadequate postoperative imaging. Surgeons should stress the importance of office-based postoperative follow-up to all EVAR patients, particularly those with poor baseline health and functional status and more complicated perioperative courses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2016.10.106DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5960980PMC
June 2017

Renal dysfunction and the associated decrease in survival after elective endovascular aneurysm repair.

J Vasc Surg 2016 Nov 29;64(5):1278-1285.e1. Epub 2016 Jul 29.

Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH.

Objective: The reported frequency of renal dysfunction after elective endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) varies widely in current surgical literature. Published research establishes pre-existing end-stage renal disease as a poor prognostic indicator. We intend to quantify the mortality effect associated with renal morbidity developed postoperatively and to identify modifiable risk factors.

Methods: All elective EVAR patients with preoperative and postoperative renal function data captured by the Vascular Quality Initiative between January 2003 and December 2014 were examined. The primary study end point was long-term mortality. Preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative parameters were analyzed to estimate mortality stratified by renal outcome and to describe independent risk factors associated with post-EVAR renal dysfunction.

Results: This study included 14,475 elective EVAR patients, of whom 96.8% developed no post-EVAR renal dysfunction, 2.9% developed acute kidney injury, and 0.4% developed a new hemodialysis requirement. Estimated 5-year survival was significantly different between groups, 77.5% vs 53.5%, respectively, for the no dysfunction and acute kidney injury groups, whereas the new hemodialysis group demonstrated 22.8% 3-year estimated survival (P < .05). New-onset postoperative congestive heart failure (odds ratio [OR], 3.50; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.18-10.38), return to the operating room (OR, 3.26; 95% CI, 1.49-7.13), and postoperative vasopressor requirement (OR, 2.68; 95% CI, 1.40-5.12) predicted post-EVAR renal dysfunction, whereas a preoperative estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) ≥60 mL/min/1.73 m was protective (OR, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.21-0.53). Volume of contrast material administered during elective EVAR varies 10-fold among surgeons in the Vascular Quality Initiative database, but the average volume administered to patients is statistically similar, regardless of preoperative eGFR. Multivariable logistic regression demonstrated nonsignificant correlation between contrast material volume and postoperative renal dysfunction.

Conclusions: Any renal dysfunction developing after elective EVAR is associated with decreased estimated long-term survival. Protecting renal function with a rational dosing metric for contrast material linked to preoperative eGFR may better guide treatment.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5079759PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2016.04.009DOI Listing
November 2016

Racial disparities after vascular trauma are age-dependent.

J Vasc Surg 2016 Aug 15;64(2):418-424. Epub 2016 Mar 15.

Division of Vascular and Endovascular Therapy, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes, Baltimore, Md. Electronic address:

Objective: Different racial disparities exist between white and black all-cause trauma patients depending on their age group; however, the effects of race and age on outcomes after vascular trauma are unknown. We assessed whether the previously described age-dependent racial disparities after all-cause trauma persist in the vascular trauma population.

Methods: Vascular trauma patients were identified from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (January 2005 to December 2012) using International Classification of Diseases-Ninth Edition codes. Univariable and multivariable analyses were used to compare in-hospital mortality and amputation for blacks vs whites for younger (16-64 years) and older (≥65 years) age groups.

Results: Black patients (n = 937) were younger, more frequently male, without insurance, and suffered from more penetrating and nonaccidental injuries than white patients (n = 1486; P < .001). On univariable analysis, blacks had a significantly higher risk of death (odds ratio, [OR], 1.78; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.16-2.74) and a significantly lower risk of amputation (OR, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.38-0.77), but these differences were not sustained after adjusting for baseline differences between groups. When stratified by age, there were significant racial disparities in mortality and amputation on univariable analysis. After risk adjustment, these differences persisted in the older group (mortality: OR, 5.95; 95% CI, 1.42-25.0; amputation: OR, 4.21; 95% CI, 1.28-13.6; P < .001) but not the younger group (mortality: OR, 1.31; 95% CI, 0.71-2.42; amputation: OR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.58-1.46; P = not significant). Differences in survival and amputation after vascular trauma appear to be related to a higher prevalence of nonaccidental penetrating injuries in the younger black population. Race was the single greatest predictor of poor outcomes in the older population (P ≤ .008).

Conclusions: Older black patients are nearly five-times more likely to experience death or amputation after vascular trauma than their white counterparts. Contrary to reports suggesting that younger white patients have better outcomes after all-cause trauma than younger black patients, racial disparities among patients with traumatic vascular injuries appear to be confined to the older age group after risk adjustment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2016.01.049DOI Listing
August 2016

One-Third of Patients in a National Cohort Initiating Hemodialysis With a Catheter Despite 6 Months of Nephrology Care.

JAMA Surg 2016 07;151(7):687

Division of Vascular and Endovascular Therapy, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes, Baltimore, Maryland.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamasurg.2015.5559DOI Listing
July 2016

Identification of Race and Ethnicity in Large Databases--Reply.

JAMA Surg 2015 Nov;150(11):1099-100

Division of Vascular and Endovascular Therapy, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes, Baltimore, Maryland.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamasurg.2015.2231DOI Listing
November 2015

Vascular access modifies the protective effect of obesity on survival in hemodialysis patients.

Surgery 2015 Dec 27;158(6):1628-34. Epub 2015 Jun 27.

Division of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins Medical Institution, Baltimore, MD. Electronic address:

Background: The protective effect of obesity on the survival of patients undergoing hemodialysis (HD) for end-stage renal disease (ESRD), described as the obesity paradox, has been established previously. Survival benefits also have been ascribed to permanent modes of HD access (fistula/graft) compared with catheter at first HD. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impact of incident HD access type on the obesity paradox.

Methods: A retrospective study of all patients with ESRD in the US Renal Database System who initiated HD between 2006 and 2010 was carried out. Multivariate logistic, Cox regression, and propensity score matched analyses were used to evaluate the association between body mass index (BMI), modes of HD access (fistula/graft vs catheter), and mortality.

Results: There were 501,920 dialysis initiates studied; 83% via catheter, 14% via fistula, and 3% via grafts. Mortality was lesser for patients initiating hemodialysis with permanent forms of access compared with catheter (adjusted odds ratio 0.68, 95% confidence interval 0.67-0.69, P < .001). High body mass index (BMI) was associated with lower mortality. Patients with high BMI were more likely to initiate hemodialysis via permanent modes of access compared with patients with normal BMI.

Conclusion: The highly popularized protective effect of increased BMI on survival in HD patients is significantly influenced by the method of hemodialysis access. There is greater use of permanent access among patients with high BMI compared with patients with normal BMI. There remains a critical need to increase permanent access utilization at incident hemodialysis so as to improve survival irrespective of BMI status.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.surg.2015.04.036DOI Listing
December 2015

Quality Improvement Targets for Regional Variation in Surgical End-Stage Renal Disease Care.

JAMA Surg 2015 Aug;150(8):764-70

Division of Vascular and Endovascular Therapy, Department of Surgery, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes, Baltimore, Maryland.

Importance: Arteriovenous fistula (AVF) access improves survival in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) compared with other modalities when used at first hemodialysis. Use varies between locations, but, to our knowledge, no study has related this finding to mortality on a national scale.

Objective: To quantify regional variation in AVF access at first hemodialysis, as well as the associated effect on mortality in the US Renal Data System.

Design, Setting, And Participants: The US Renal Data System tracks all patients with ESRD in the United States. A retrospective analysis of the population from January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2010, was performed. Univariate analyses (χ² test; 2-tailed, unpaired t test; and analysis of variance) as well as multivariable logistic regressions were carried out to compare patient characteristics, incident AVF frequencies, and corrected mortality hazards between ESRD Network Programs, which comprise 18 states, commonwealths, and protectorates in which residents receive hemodialysis. Of the patients receiving hemodialysis in these networks, the data on 464,547 individuals who were beginning renal replacement therapy were analyzed. Analysis was started April 1, 2013, and ended August 3, 2014.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Mortality hazard variation between ESRD Network Programs in the United States and incident AVF frequency.

Results: Of the 464,547 patients beginning hemodialysis in this cohort, first hemodialysis with an AVF ranged from 11.1% to 22.2% depending on the ESRD Network in which they maintained residency (P < .001). Similarly, corrected mortality hazard varied by 28% (hazard ratios from 0.99 [95% CI, 0.96-1.03] to 1.27 [95% CI, 1.22-1.31]; P < .001). Logistic regression determined nephrology care to increase the odds of a patient beginning hemodialysis using an AVF by 11-fold (odds ratio, 11.42 [95% CI, 10.93-11.93]; P < .001); congestive heart failure was a negative correlatefold (odds ratio, 0.65 [95% CI, 0.64-0.67]; P < .001). No region achieved the 50% Fistula First Breakthrough Initiative (now known as Fistula First Catheter Last) target for incident AVF access.

Conclusions And Relevance: Marked regional variation in functional incident AVF frequency and risk-adjusted ESRD mortality exists across the United States. Differences in access to preoperative nephrology care and patient comorbidities may explain some of these variations, but an opportunity to implement best-practice guidelines exists.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamasurg.2015.1126DOI Listing
August 2015

Racial/Ethnic Disparities Associated With Initial Hemodialysis Access.

JAMA Surg 2015 Jun;150(6):529-36

Division of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland.

Importance: Superior outcomes have been established with the use of an arteriovenous fistula (AVF) at first hemodialysis. However, considering the influence of comorbidities, medical insurance, and specialist care, racial/ethnic differences in the patterns of utilization of AVFs are unknown and deserve evaluation.

Objective: To assess national trends in initial hemodialysis access with respect to race/ethnicity stratified by comorbid disease, nephrology care, and medical insurance status within the US Renal Data System.

Design, Setting, And Participants: A retrospective analysis of all patients with end-stage renal disease in the US Renal Data System who initiated hemodialysis between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2010. Univariable statistics (χ² test and analysis of variance) and logistic regression were used to compare racial/ethnic groups (white vs black vs Hispanic). Multivariable logistic regression and propensity score-matching techniques were used to evaluate hemodialysis access rates between patients of different races/ethnicities with comparable characteristics.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Utilization rates of AVF, arteriovenous graft, and intravascular hemodialysis catheter.

Results: In this cohort of 396,075 patients, more white patients initiated hemodialysis with an AVF than black patients or Hispanic patients (18.3% vs 15.5% and 14.6%, respectively; P < .001). Black patients and Hispanic patients initiated hemodialysis with an AVF less frequently despite being younger and having less coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancer than white patients with an AVF. When stratified by medical insurance status, black patients (odds ratios, 0.90 [95% CI, 0.82-0.98] for uninsured and 0.85 [95% CI, 0.84-0.87] for insured) and Hispanic patients (odds ratios, 0.72 [95% CI, 0.65-0.81] for uninsured and 0.81 [95% CI, 0.79-0.84] for insured) persistently initiated hemodialysis with an AVF less frequently than white patients (P < .05 for all). Arteriovenous fistula utilization at initial hemodialysis was lower among black patients (odds ratio, 0.81 [95% CI, 0.78-0.84]) and Hispanic patients (odds ratio, 0.86 [95% CI, 0.82-0.90]) compared with white patients within the category of patients who had nephrology care for longer than 1 year (P < .001 for all).

Conclusions And Relevance: Black patients and Hispanic patients tend to initiate hemodialysis with an AVF less frequently than white patients despite being younger and having fewer comorbidities. These disparities persisted independent of factors that drive health access for fistula placement, such as medical insurance status and nephrology care. The sociocultural underpinnings of these disparities deserve investigation and redress to maximize the benefits of initiating hemodialysis via fistula in patients with end-stage renal disease irrespective of race/ethnicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamasurg.2015.0287DOI Listing
June 2015

Trends in incident hemodialysis access and mortality.

JAMA Surg 2015 May;150(5):441-8

Department of Surgery, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland3The Health System, University of California at Davis, Sacramento4Former Editor, JAMA Surgery.

Importance: Based on evidence of survival benefit when initiating hemodialysis (HD) via arteriovenous fistula (AVF) or arteriovenous graft (AVG) vs hemodialysis catheter (HC), the National Kidney Foundation-Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative published practice guidelines in 1997 recommending 50% or greater AVF rates in incident HD patients. A decade after, lapses exist and the impact on HD outcomes is uncertain.

Objective: To assess the achievement of the practice goals for incident vascular access and the effects on HD outcomes.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This retrospective cohort study was conducted using the US Renal Data System. All patients with end-stage renal disease in the United States without prior renal replacement therapy who had incident vascular access for HD created between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2010 (N = 510 000) were included.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Incident vascular access use rates and mortality. Relative mortality was quantified using multivariable Cox proportional hazard models. Coarsened exact matching and propensity score-matching techniques were used to better account for confounding by indication.

Results: Of 510 000 patients included in this study, 82.6% initiated HD via HC, 14.0% via AVF, and 3.4% via AVG. Arteriovenous fistula use increased only minimally, from 12.2% in 2006 to 15.0% in 2010. Patients initiating HD with AVF had 35% lower mortality than those with HC (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.64-0.66; P < .001). Those initiating HD with AVF had 23% lower mortality than those initiating with an HC while awaiting maturation of an AVF (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.76-0.79; P < .001).

Conclusions And Relevance: Current incident AVF practice falls exceedingly short years after recommendations were made in 1997. The impact of this shortcoming on mortality for patients with end-stage renal disease is enormous. Functioning permanent access at initiation of HD confers lower mortality even compared with patients temporized with an HC while awaiting maturation of permanent access. A change of current policies and structured multidisciplinary efforts are required to establish matured fistulae prior to HD to ameliorate this deficit in delivering care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamasurg.2014.3484DOI Listing
May 2015

Mortality benefits of different hemodialysis access types are age dependent.

J Vasc Surg 2015 Feb 28;61(2):449-56. Epub 2014 Aug 28.

Division of Vascular and Endovascular Therapy, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Md.

Objective: Risk of death in dialysis patients is lowest with arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs), followed by arteriovenous grafts (AVGs) and then intravenous hemodialysis catheters (HCs). Our aim was to analyze the effects of age at hemodialysis initiation on mortality across different access types.

Methods: All patients ≥18 years in the United States Renal Data System between the years 2006 and 2010 were analyzed. Spline modeling and risk-adjusted Cox proportional hazard models were used to analyze the effect of age on mortality for first dialysis access with AVF vs AVG vs HC.

Results: The study analyzed 507,791 patients (63.4 ± 0.02 years; 56.5% male; 40.9% mortality; follow-up, 1.57 ± 1.36 years). Increasing age was a significant predictor of overall mortality (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.03; P < .001). Compared with patients with HCs (n = 418,932), overall risk-adjusted mortality was lowest in patients with AVFs (n = 71,316; aHR, 0.63; P < .001) followed by AVGs (n = 17,543; aHR, 0.83; P < .001). AVF was superior to both HC and AVG for all age groups (P < .001). However, there was a significant change in the relative efficacy of AVG at ages 48 years and 89 years based on spline modeling; there were no significant differences comparing adjusted mortality with AVG vs HC for patients aged 18 to 48 years or for patients >89 years, but AVG was superior to HC for patients 49 to 89 years of age (aHR, 0.811; P < .001). The mortality benefit of AVF was consistently superior to that of AVG and HC for patients of all ages (all, P < .001).

Conclusions: AVF is superior to AVG and HC regardless of the patient's age, including in octogenarians. In contrast, the mortality benefit of AVG over HC may not apply to younger (18-48 years) or older (>89 years) age groups. All patients 18 to 48 years should receive AVF for dialysis access whenever possible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2014.07.091DOI Listing
February 2015

An unusual hernia.

JAMA Surg 2014 Sep;149(9):989-90

Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamasurg.2013.4851DOI Listing
September 2014

Direct and convenient conversion of alcohols to fluorides.

Org Lett 2004 Apr;6(9):1465-8

Department of Process Research, Merck Research Laboratories, P.O. Box 2000, Rahway, New Jersey 07065, USA.

[reaction: see text] Directly mixing primary, secondary, and tertiary alcohols with nC(4)F(9)SO(2)F-NR(3)(HF)(3)-NR(3) in THF or MeCN results in convenient conversion to the corresponding fluorides in high yields. The readily available reagents are easy to handle, and the mild, almost neutral reaction conditions allow for excellent functional group compatibility. A NR(3)(HF)(3)/NR(3) ratio of
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ol049672aDOI Listing
April 2004