Effect of Fish Oil Supplementation and Aspirin Use on Arteriovenous Fistula Failure in Patients Requiring Hemodialysis: A Randomized Clinical Trial | Chronic Kidney Disease | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network
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Original Investigation
February 2017

Effect of Fish Oil Supplementation and Aspirin Use on Arteriovenous Fistula Failure in Patients Requiring Hemodialysis: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Nephrology, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Perth, Australia
  • 2School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
  • 3Department of Nephrology, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Australia
  • 4Australasian Kidney Trials Network, School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
  • 5Department of Medicine and Hemodialysis Unit, Hospital Sultanah Aminah, Johor Bahru, Malaysia
  • 6Department of Nephrology, St George Hospital, Sydney, Australia
  • 7The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, Australia
  • 8Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia
  • 9Department of Nephrology, Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne, Australia
  • 10Department of Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  • 11Middlemore Renal Department, Counties-Manukau Health, Auckland, New Zealand
  • 12Department of Nephrology, Penang Hospital, Georgetown, Malaysia
  • 13School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(2):184-193. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.8029
Key Points

Question  Is fish oil or aspirin effective in preventing failure of de novo arteriovenous fistulae in patients requiring hemodialysis?

Findings  In this randomized clinical trial that included 567 adults, the occurrence of fistula failure within 12 months of surgery was high and not reduced by fish oil supplementation or aspirin use compared with placebo.

Meaning  This study suggests that neither fish oil nor aspirin can be recommended routinely for the prevention of arteriovenous fistula failure and that additional strategies to reduce the high arteriovenous fistula failure rate are required.


Importance  Vascular access dysfunction is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in patients requiring hemodialysis. Arteriovenous fistulae are preferred over synthetic grafts and central venous catheters due to superior long-term outcomes and lower health care costs, but increasing their use is limited by early thrombosis and maturation failure. ω-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids (fish oils) have pleiotropic effects on vascular biology and inflammation and aspirin impairs platelet aggregation, which may reduce access failure.

Objective  To determine whether fish oil supplementation (primary objective) or aspirin use (secondary objective) is effective in reducing arteriovenous fistula failure.

Design, Setting, and Participants  The Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oils) and Aspirin in Vascular Access Outcomes in Renal Disease (FAVOURED) study was a randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial that recruited participants with stage 4 or 5 chronic kidney disease from 2008 to 2014 at 35 dialysis centers in Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Participants were observed for 12 months after arteriovenous fistula creation.

Interventions  Participants were randomly allocated to receive fish oil (4 g/d) or matching placebo. A subset (n = 406) was also randomized to receive aspirin (100 mg/d) or matching placebo. Treatment started 1 day prior to surgery and continued for 12 weeks.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary outcome was fistula failure, a composite of fistula thrombosis and/or abandonment and/or cannulation failure, at 12 months. Secondary outcomes included the individual components of the primary outcome.

Results  Of 1415 eligible participants, 567 were randomized (359 [63%] male, 298 [53%] white, 264 [47%] with diabetes; mean [SD] age, 54.8 [14.3] y). The same proportion of fistula failures occurred in the fish oil and placebo arms (128 of 270 [47%] vs 125 of 266 [47%]; relative risk [RR] adjusted for aspirin use, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.86-1.23; P = .78). Fish oil did not reduce fistula thrombosis (60 [22%] vs 61 [23%]; RR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.72-1.34; P = .90), abandonment (51 [19%] vs 58 [22%]; RR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.62-1.22; P = .43), or cannulation failure (108 [40%] vs 104 [39%]; RR, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.83-1.26; P = .81). The risk of fistula failure was similar between the aspirin and placebo arms (87 of 194 [45%] vs 83 of 194 [43%]; RR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.84-1.31; P = .68).

Conclusions and Relevance  Neither fish oil supplementation nor aspirin use reduced failure of new arteriovenous fistulae within 12 months of surgery.

Trial Registration  anzctr.org.au Identifier: CTRN12607000569404