Intravenous drug use history is not associated with poorer outcomes after arteriovenous access creation

Scott R. Levin, Alik Farber, Nkiruka Arinze, Stephanie D. Talutis, Thomas W. Cheng, Mahmoud B. Malas, Tze Woei Tan, Denis Rybin, Jeffrey J. Siracuse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: Rising intravenous drug use (IVDU) paralleled with an increasing dialysis-dependent end-stage renal disease population may pose a challenge for creating and maintaining arteriovenous (AV) access for hemodialysis. We aimed to elucidate baseline characteristics and outcomes of AV access creation in the IVDU population. Methods: The Vascular Quality Initiative (2011-2018) was queried for patients undergoing AV access placement. Univariable and multivariable analyses comparing outcomes of patients with and without IVDU history were performed. Results: Of 33,404 patients undergoing AV access creation, 601 (1.8%) had IVDU history (21.8% current and 78.2% past users). IVDU patients receiving AV access were more often younger, male, nonwhite, smokers, homeless, Medicaid recipients, and hospitalized at the time of surgery (P <.001 for all). They exhibited higher rates of congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (P <.05 for all). They more frequently had tunneled catheters at the time of access creation (53.6% vs 42%; P <.001) and had a previous AV access (25.3% vs 21.7%; P =.002). IVDU patients more often received prosthetic AV grafts (28.6% vs 18%; P <.001) and more often had anastomoses created to basilic veins (33.1% vs 23.2%; P <.001) but less often to cephalic veins (36.8% vs 57.7%; P <.001). IVDU patients had longer postoperative length of stay (2 ± 6 days vs 0.9 ± 5 days; P <.001) but no significant difference in 30-day mortality (1.7% vs 1.2%; P =.3). Comparing IVDU vs no IVDU cohorts, 1-year access infection-free survival (85.4% vs 86.6%; P =.382), primary patency loss-free survival (39.5% vs 37.9%; P =.335), endovascular/open reintervention-free survival (58% vs 57%; P =.705), and overall survival (89.7% vs 88.9%; P =.635) were similar. On multivariable analysis, IVDU was independently associated with postoperative length of stay (odds ratio, 1.64; 95% confidence interval, 1.35-2; P <.001) but not with 30-day mortality or 1-year infection-free survival, primary patency loss-free survival, reintervention-free survival, and all-cause mortality. The null results were confirmed in a propensity score-matched cohort. Conclusions: IVDU history was uncommon among patients undergoing AV access creation at Vascular Quality Initiative centers and was not independently associated with major morbidity or mortality postoperatively. IVDU patients more often received grafts or autogenous access with anastomoses to basilic veins. Although these patients frequently have more comorbidities, IVDU should not deter AV access creation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-300.e7
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Arteriovenous access
  • Dialysis
  • Intravenous drug use
  • Opiates
  • Vascular surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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