Cilostazol May Improve Maturation Rates and Durability of Vascular Access for Hemodialysis

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Cilostazol is effective in controlling pathophysiological pathways similar or identical to those involved in nonmaturation and failure of the arteriovenous access. This case–control study examined whether cilostazol would improve maturation rates and durability of vascular access for hemodialysis. The treatment group included 33 patients who received cilostazol for ≥30 days prior to creation of a dialysis access and continued with cilostazol therapy for ≥60 days after surgery. The matched (gender, age, race, diabetes, and the year of surgery) control group included 116 patients who underwent the same procedure but did not receive cilostazol prior to and at least 3 months after surgery. Primary outcomes were maturation and, for those that matured, time of functioning access, defined as the time from the first use to irreparable failure of the access. Secondary outcomes were time to maturation, complications, and time to first complication. Study group patients were 3.8 times more likely to experience fistula maturation compared to the controls (88% vs 66%, RR = 3.8, 95% confidence interval: 1.3-11.6, P = .016). Fewer patients in the study group had complications (76% vs 92%, P = .025), and the time from construction of the fistula to the first complication was longer (345.6 ± 441 days vs 198.3 ± 185.0 days, P = .025). Time to maturation was similar in both groups (119.3 ± 62.9 days vs 100.2 ± 61.7 days, P = .2). However, once matured, time to failure was significantly longer in the treatment group (903.7 ± 543.6 vs 381.6 ± 317.2 days, P = .001). Multivariate analysis confirmed that the likelihood of maturation was significantly higher in the treatment group patients. These results suggest that dialysis access patients may benefit from preoperative and postoperative cilostazol therapy. If confirmed by a randomized trial, this treatment will have a major beneficial impact on patients dependent on a well-functioning access for their hemodialysis.

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