Controversies in vascular access

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Purpose of review

There is renewed interest in vascular access research, fueled by new perspectives and a critical re-examination of traditional thinking. This review summarizes important developments in vascular access from the past year, highlight areas of controversy, and makes recommendations for future research.

Recent findings

Recent studies provide an innovative and critical look at the assumptions underlying the promotion of fistulas as the preferred form of vascular access and highlight the need for a randomized comparison of different forms of access. Promising work that will help determine predictors of fistula maturation and potentially improve patient selection is ongoing. The role of early cannulation grafts continues to generate interest, and new approaches to reducing the risk of catheter-related bacteremia show promise.


The scientific community should capitalize on this opportunity to critically re-examine fundamental questions that have gone unanswered to date. High-quality randomized trials are needed to quantify the magnitude of benefit of different vascular access strategies, gather information about the risks, benefits, and cost-effectiveness of different approaches, and to get a clear view of the patient experience and how it is impacted by choice of vascular access.

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