Comparison of catheters or new arteriovenous fistulas for commencement of haemodialysis in pregnant women with chronic kidney disease: an international observational study

Shilpanjali Jesudason, Erandi Hewawasam, Brona Moloney, Rachel Tan, Joule Li, Hannah Blakey, Kate Bramham, Matthew Hall, Rajiv Juneja, Elizabeth Jarvis, Liz Lightstone, Graham Lipkin, Michelle A. Hladunewich

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Evidence surrounding vascular access options for commencing dialysis in pregnancy complicated by chronic kidney disease (CKD) is limited. Creation of new arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs) in pregnant women is rare. Methods: Retrospective cohort study of approaches to vascular access in pregnancy in centres in Australia, the United Kingdom (UK) and Canada (2002–2018). Results: Twenty-three women with advanced CKD commenced dialysis in pregnancy (n = 20) or planned to commence (n = 3). Access at dialysis start was a tunnelled catheter (n = 13), temporary catheter (n = 1), AVF created pre-conception but used in pregnancy (n = 3) and AVF created during pregnancy (n = 3). No women commencing dialysis with an AVF required a catheter. No differences in perinatal outcomes were observed comparing AVFs and catheters at dialysis commencement. No AVFs were created in pregnancy in Canadian women. From Australia and the UK, 10 women had a new AVF created in pregnancy, at median gestation 14.5 weeks (IQR 12.5, 20.75). Four women still needed a catheter for dialysis initiation and 3 eventually used the new AVF. Six AVFs were successfully used in pregnancy at median gestation 24 weeks (IQR 22.5, 28.5), 2 were successfully created but not used and 2 had primary failure. No catheter-associated complications were identified except one episode of catheter-related sepsis. Conclusions: Catheter-related complications were minimal. In selected women, with sufficient pre-planning, an AVF can be created and successfully used during pregnancy to minimise catheter use if preferred. Pre-conception counselling in advanced CKD should include discussing vascular access options reflecting local expertise and patient preferences. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1689-1698
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nephrology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Jul 2022


  • Arteriovenous fistula
  • Dialysis
  • Kidney disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Vascular access

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology

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