CHICAGO – Drug-coated balloons show promise of being a long-sought major advance in the endovascular treatment of stenotic arteriovenous fistulae and grafts for hemodialysis access, Syed M. Hussain, MD, said at a symposium on vascular surgery sponsored by Northwestern University.
Something significantly better than today’s standard treatment options is needed, according to Dr. Hussain. Medicare pays out more than $50 billion annually for the treatment of patients with end-stage renal disease, and a hefty chunk of that money goes for oft-repeated procedures aimed at preserving the patency of the access sites.
“Primary patency rates leave much room for improvement,” observed Dr. Hussain, a vascular surgeon at the Christie Clinic in Champaign, Ill.
Indeed, the 50% primary patency rate at 6 months that was optimistically declared a “reasonable goal” in the 2006 Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative is actually far-fetched using the conventional tools.
“That 50% patency at 6 months would be a tall order to try to meet. Anybody in this room that does fistulography and angioplasty knows the numbers are actually a lot lower than 50%,” said Dr. Hussain.
Plain old balloon angioplasty, the standard first-line intervention for stenotic hemodialysis access sites, has a 6-month patency rate of about 30%. Bare metal stents push the rate up to about 39%. Covered stent grafts are the most effective of the conventional treatment modalities, with a 6-month patency of 51%-53%; however, they are widely considered too expensive for routine use.
Drug-coated balloons (DCBs) have been available for close to 3 years for treatment of lower extremity peripheral artery disease, where they have achieved considerable success. The Food and Drug Administration has approved three commercially available DCBs for this purpose: Bard’s Lutonix 035 AV, Medtronic’s IN.PACT Admiral, and most recently the Stellarex DCB.