Systematic review and meta-analysis of preoperative interventions to support the maturation of arteriovenous fistulae in patients with advanced kidney disease

Sivaramakrishnan Ramanarayanan*, Shivani Sharma, Oscar Swift, Keith R. Laws, Hamza Umar, Ken Farrington

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: There is great potential to improve outcomes of arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs) by focusing more on the preoperative period of AVF creation. We aim to systematically review the evidence on safety and efficacy of various preoperative interventions that have been tried to improve AVF maturation and success rate. Methods: We searched five databases: PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, Cochrane Library and King's Fund Library. Experimental studies that investigated the effect of various preoperative interventions to improve AVF outcomes among advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients were searched. The effect size for primary outcome was calculated as the weighted mean difference in the final vessel calibre, rate of AVF maturation or primary failure between the intervention and control arm. We also assessed adverse effects and dropout rates. This review was preregistered in the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (CRD42020193257). Results: Eight eligible studies were identified involving three types of intervention: hand exercise (n = 6), cholecalciferol supplementation (n = 1) and pneumatic compression of the arm using a Fist Assist device (n = 1). The overall effect size of hand exercise on distal cephalic vein calibre was 0.24 mm [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.03-0.45] on meta-analysis of hand exercise studies. On restricting analysis to two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that had independent control groups, the effect size was higher, at 0.29 mm (95% CI 0.11-0.47). Hand exercise was a well-tolerated intervention, especially when confined to the first 4 weeks. Discussion: Hand exercise is the predominant intervention tried in the preoperative period of AVF creation, although there is methodological heterogeneity. Intermittent pneumatic compression using a Fist Assist device is a novel intervention that has shown some promise. Well-designed prospective RCTs are needed on preoperative interventions among advanced CKD patients, aimed at improving AVF outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2330-2339
Number of pages10
JournalNephrology Dialysis Transplantation
Issue number10
Early online date17 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023


  • AVF maturation
  • chronic kidney disease
  • haemodialysis
  • hand exercise
  • preoperative intervention


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