Sepsis is one the most serious and life-threatening complication in patients with chronic hemodialysis (HD) access. Arteriovenous fistula (AVF) use is associated with a lower risk of infection. However, several prior studies identified significantly higher number of patients initiating HD using a catheter (HC) or arteriovenous graft (AVG). The aim of this study was to use a large national renal database to report the incidence and risk factors of sepsis in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) initiating HD access using AVF, AVG, or HC in the United States.

All patients with ESRD initiating HD access (AVF, AVG, HC) between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2014, in United States Renal Data System were included. International Classification of Diseases, 9th edition–Clinical Modification diagnosis code (038x, 790.7) was used to identify patients who developed first onset of sepsis during follow-up. Standard univariate (Students t-test, χ2, and Kaplan-Meier) and multivariable (logistic/Cox regression) analyses were performed as appropriate. Sepsis risk in HD patients is clearly related to access type and is associated with dramatic increase in mortality. Initiating HD access with AVF to meet the National Kidney Foundation Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality recommendations should be implemented to reduce the incidence of sepsis and improve survival in patients with ESRD.

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