Graft

Also called: AV graft, arteriovenous graft

The graft is similar to a fistula, in that it is also an under the skin connection of an artery and vein, except that with a graft, a man-made tubing connects the artery and vein. The soft, plastic-like tube is about one-half inch in diameter and is made from a type of Teflon® or Gore-Tex® material. Transplanted animal or human vessels may also be used as grafts to connect an artery and vein. Grafts are usually placed in the arm, but can also be placed in the thigh.

Grafts do not require as much time to mature as fistulas, because the graft does not need time to enlarge before using. In most cases a graft can be used about two to six weeks after placement. Because grafts are created from materials outside of the body, they tend to have more problems than fistulas due to clotting and infections. Grafts may not last as long as a fistula and could need to be repaired or replaced each year.

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