Validation of a Risk Equation Predicting Hemodialysis Arteriovenous Fistula Primary Failure in Elderly

Joyce Z. Qian, Mara A. McAdams-Demarco, Derek Ng, Bryan Lau

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Choice of vascular access for older hemodialysis patients presents a special challenge since the rate of arteriovenous fistula (AVF) primary failure is high. The Lok's risk equation predicting AVF primary failure has achieved good prediction accuracy and holds great potential for clinical use, but it has not been validated in the United States older hemodialysis patients. Methods: We assembled a validation data set of 14,892 patients aged 67 years and older who initiated hemodialysis with a central venous catheter between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2012, and had a subsequent, incident AVF placement from the United States Renal Data System. We examined the external validity of Lok's model by applying it to this validation data set. The discriminatory accuracy and calibration were evaluated by the concordance index (C-statistics) and calibration plot, respectively. Results: The observed frequency of AVF primary failure varied from 0.45 to 0.53 in hemodialysis patients in the validation data set. The predicted probabilities of AVF primary failure calculated by using the Lok's risk equation ranged from 0.08 to 0.61, and 77.8, 40.5, and 51.7% of patients were categorized as having high, intermediate, and low risk of AVF primary failure, respectively. The C-statistics of the Lok's risk equation in the validation data set was 0.53 (95% CI 0.52-0.54). The predicted probabilities of AVF primary failure corresponded poorly with the observed proportions in the calibration plot. Conclusions: When externally applied to a cohort of U.S. older hemodialysis patients, the Lok's risk equation exhibited poor discrimination and calibration accuracy. It is invalid to use it to predict AVF primary failure. A more complex model with strong predictors is expected to better serve clinical determination for AVF placement in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-23
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Nephrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Arteriovenous fistula
  • Elderly
  • Hemodialysis
  • Primary failure
  • Validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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