A porcine model of intimal-medial hyperplasia in polytetrafluoroethylene arteriovenous grafts

K. Baig, R. C. Fields, J. Gaca, S. Hanish, L. G. Milton, W. J. Koch, Jeffrey H. Lawson

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5 Scopus citations


Purpose: Vascular access polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) graft failure is a major cause of morbidity in the hemodialysis population. The most common cause of graft failure is thrombosis secondary to stenosis at the venous outflow tract. Venous outflow stenosis is characterized by intimal-medial hyperplasia. We have developed a porcine arteriovenous (AV) graft model that may be used to investigate this proliferative response and aid in the development of new therapies to prevent intimal-medial hyperplasia and improve graft patency. Methods: Left carotid to right external jugular vein PTFE (6 mm) grafts were implanted in the necks of swine. Immediately following anatomosis, flow rates were recorded. In one group of animals (n = 4) the venous outflow tract was harvested after 7 days and morphometric analysis of intimal and medial area was performed. In a second group (n = 8) the graft patency was monitored until 28 days. Results: All porcine PTFE fistula grafts were patent at 7 days and 100% patency was maintained until 14 days. After 28 days, 75% of the grafts failed due to thrombosis. The venous outflow tract developed a significant proliferative response. After 7 days the intimal and medial areas were 469 ± 9 μm2 and 875 ± 26 μm2 respectively. At 28 days the intimal and medial areas were 913 ± 55 μm2 and 1437 ± 182 μm2 respectively. Luminal flow rate of the venous outflow tract was reduced significantly (344 ± 11 ml/min at Day 0 to 129 ± 14 ml/min at Day 7, p < 0.05). Conclusions: This porcine model rapidly, reliably and robustly reproduces the flow reducing stenosis and intimal-medial hyperplasia at the venous outflow tract of PTFE arteriovenous fistula. It represents a promising tool for investigating the mechanisms of intimal-medial hyperplasia, evaluating therapeutic interventions and new graft materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-117
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Vascular Access
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2003


  • AV fistula
  • Dialysis access
  • Intimal hyperplasia


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