Far infrared therapy facilitates arteriovenous fistula (AVF) maturation and patency and decreases the rate of AVF malfunction in patients with stage 4 and 5 chronic kidney disease (CKD), researchers in Taiwan reported.

Chih-Ching Lin, MD, PhD, of Taipei Veterans General Hospital, and colleagues enrolled 122 patients with stage 4 and 5 CKD undergoing AVF creation. Patients were randomly assigned to receive 40 minutes of far infrared therapy three times weekly for one year (60 patients) or to serve as controls (62 patients).

Compared with the control group, the intervention arm had a significantly higher rate of physiologic maturation at three months (90% vs. 76%), the investigators reported online ahead of print in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases. The infrared group also had a significantly higher rate of clinical maturation (82% vs. 60%) and AVF cumulative unassisted patency (87% vs. 70%) within 12 months. The group also had a significantly lower rate of AVF malfunction (12% vs. 29%) within 12 months.

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Dr. Lin’s team noted that previous animal and clinical studies have shown that thermal therapy, including far infrared, may improve skin blood flow and decrease the frequency of some cardiovascular diseases.