Patient compliance limits the efforts of quality improvement initiatives on arteriovenous fistula maturation

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Our institutional quality-improvement (QI) initiative instituted a well-defined office follow-up schedule after arteriovenous fistula (AVF) creation, including an office visit within 30 days, fistulogram within 40 days, if indicated, and a second office visit within 55 days. In addition, a patient liaison contacted patients and dialysis units to improve follow-up. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of the QI initiative on patient compliance and overall time to AVF permission to cannulate.


We performed a retrospective review of patients undergoing first-time radiocephalic, brachiocephalic, and basilic vein transposition creation before the QI initiative (pre-QI group: January to April 2012) and during the QI period (QI group: January to April 2013). Categoric data were compared usingχ2 analysis, and nominal data were compared using the Studentt-test.


We reviewed 198 first-time AVF creations in patients (57% male) with a mean age of 61 years. Demographics and comorbidities between the pre-QI and QI groups were similar. Compliance with the first 30-day postoperative appointment increased significantly after the QI initiative, from 48% in the pre-QI group to 65% in the QI group (P= .015). Yet, the QI initiative did not maintain an effect on the subsequent follow-up checkpoints. No statistical difference was identified for compliance with fistulogram within 40 days of access creation (pre-QI, 12% vs QI, 25%;P= .093) or for compliance with the 55-day postoperative appointment (pre-QI, 33% vs QI, 23%;P= .457). Both checkpoints demonstrated a very high noncompliance rate. Accordingly, the mean time to permission to cannulate was 88 days for both the pre-QI and QI groups, with a failure to mature rate of 22% for the pre-QI group and 21% for the QI group (P= .816).


The QI initiative significantly increased the number of patients complying with the first 30-day follow-up appointment after AVF access creation. However, patient compliance with a timely fistulogram and the second follow-up appointment was poor and not influenced by the QI initiative, limiting the functional effect of the QI initiative on the time to AVF permission to cannulate.

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