One complication of venous disease is central venous stenosis, a narrowing of veins leading to the heart. These central veins are often the final common route for patients requiring kidney dialysis. Creating an arteriovenous fistula (a connection between an artery and a vein) or an arteriovenous graft (a looped plastic tube connecting an artery to a vein with a semi-permanent catheter) are traditional treatment options.
Today, vascular surgeons on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Heart and Vascular Hospital – Dallas use a specialized product—a hemodialysis access graft—for patients who are catheter-dependent or approaching catheter-dependency due to the blockage of veins leading to the heart. The implant can be performed on an inpatient or outpatient basis.
The FDA approved the hemodialysis access graft in 2008. In clinical studies, it reduced the risk of vascular access-related infections by 69% and improved dialysis adequacy by up to 32% compared to other methods.