Impact of pre-dialysis nephrology care engagement and decision-making on provider and patient action toward permanent vascular access

Vanessa Grubbs, Bernard G. Jaar, Kerri L. Cavanaugh, Patti L. Ephraim, Jessica M. Ameling, Courtney Cook, Raquel C. Greer, L. Ebony Boulware

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: While catheters are often thought the result of emergency hemodialysis (HD) initiation among patients with little or no pre-dialysis nephrology care, the role of patient level of engagement in care and modality decision-making have not been fully explored. Methods: This is a retrospective medical record review of adults (age 18–89 years) who received care in academically affiliated private practice, public hospital, or Veterans Administration settings prior to initiating HD with a catheter between 10/1/2011 and 9/30/2012. Primary predictors were level of patient engagement in nephrology care within 6 months of HD initiation and timing of modality decision-making. Primary outcomes were provider action (referral) and any patient action (evaluation by a vascular surgeon, vein mapping or vascular surgery) toward [arteriovenous fistula or graft, (AVF/AVG)] creation. Results: Among 92 incident HD patients, 66% (n = 61) initiated HD via catheter, of whom 34% (n = 21) had ideal engagement in care but 42% (n = 25) had no documented decision. Providers referred 48% (n = 29) of patients for AVF/AVG, of whom 72% (n = 21) took any action. Ideal engagement in care predicted provider action (adjusted OR 13.7 [95% CI 1.08, 175.1], p = 0.04), but no level of engagement in care predicted patient action (p > 0.3). Compared to patients with no documented decision, those with documented decisions within 3, 3–12, or more than 12 months before initiating dialysis were more likely to have provider action toward AVF/AVG (adjusted OR [95% CI]: 9.0 [1.4,55.6], p = 0.2, 37.6 [3.3423.4] p = 0.003, and 4.8 [0.8, 30.6], p = 0.1, respectively); and patient action (adjusted OR [95% CI]: 18.7 [2.3, 149.0], p = 0.006, 20.4 [2.6, 160.0], p = 0.004, and 6.2 [0.9, 44.0], p = 0.07, respectively). Conclusions: Timing of patient modality decision-making, but not level of engagement in pre-dialysis nephrology care, was predictive of patient and provider action toward AVF/AVG Interventions addressing patients’ psychological preparation for dialysis are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number60
JournalBMC nephrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Hemodialysis
  • Patient decision-making
  • Pre-dialysis nephrology care
  • Vascular access

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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