Perioperative Opioid and Nonopioid Prescribing Patterns in AVF/AVG Creation

John Phair, Krystina Choinski, Matthew Carnevale, Brandon DeRuiter, Larry Scher, Evan Lipsitz, Issam Koleilat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: To evaluate postoperative opioid prescribing patterns in patients undergoing hemodialysis access creation. Methods: Operative logs were reviewed to identify patients undergoing creation of arteriovenous fistula (AVF) or graft (AVG) from September 2016 to January 2018. Immediate postoperative opioid prescriptions were compared for ambulatory patients versus inpatients. Opioid prescriptions at the time of discharge for inpatients were recorded. Rates of opioid prescribing were standardized by conversion to morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs). Opioid use postoperatively and at the time of discharge based on anesthetic technique, general anesthesia versus regional or local anesthesia with sedation were compared. Alternative pain medications administered and pain scores were recorded. Comparisons were made between the percentage of opioid use and doses administered between AVF and AVG patient groups, ambulatory and inpatients, and type of anesthetic technique used. Statistical analysis was performed with chi-square and t-tests. Results: We identified 164 patients undergoing AV access creation but not receiving chronic opioid therapy. A significantly higher percentage of inpatients received opioids in the immediate postoperative period than ambulatory patients (AVF: 72% vs. 19%, P < 0.001; AVG: 62% vs. 25%, P = 0.001). Overall, all AVG patients were more likely to be discharged with an opioid prescription than all AVF patients (37% vs. 8%, P < 0.001). Of AVG patients managed in the ambulatory setting, 48% were discharged with an opioid prescription. The mean total opioid postoperative dose prescribed to inpatients was significantly higher than that prescribed to ambulatory patients for both fistulas (28.73 MMEs vs. 1.27 MMEs, P < 0.001) and grafts (22.11 MMEs vs. 2.16 MMEs, P = 0.005). General anesthesia patient groups were more likely to receive opioids postoperatively than local anesthesia with sedation patients for both AVF (54% vs. 24%, P = 0.027) and AVG creation (61% vs. 17% P < 0.001). Postoperative alternative medication use in the hospital was low with 18% acetaminophen and 1% nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use for AVF patient groups and 24% acetaminophen and 0% nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use for AVG patient groups. The percentage of patients reporting postoperative pain in the recovery room and on the inpatient units was comparable between ambulatory and inpatient settings (AVF: 21% vs. 28%, P = 0.534; AVG: 23% vs. 44%, P = 0.061). Conclusions: A higher percentage of inpatients undergoing hemodialysis access received opioids when compared with ambulatory patients in the immediate postoperative period. Inpatients were prescribed higher mean doses than ambulatory patients. AVG patient groups were prescribed more opioids than AVF patient groups. Alternative analgesic agent use was low, suggesting an opportunity for improved pain control and opioid reduction. Dialysis access creation represents an opportunity to improve on opioid prescribing patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-298
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
StatePublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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