Arteriovenous grafts are routinely placed to facilitate hemodialysis in patients with end stage renal disease. These grafts are conduits between higher pressure arteries and lower pressure veins. The connection on the vein end of the graft, known as the graft-to-vein anastomosis, fails frequently and chronically due to high rates of stenosis and thrombosis. These failures are widely believed to be associated with pathologically high and low flow shear strain rates at the graft-to-vein anastomosis. We hypothesized that consistent with pipe flow dynamics and prior work exploring vein-to-artery anastomosis angles in arteriovenous fistulas, altering the graft-to-vein anastomosis angle can reduce the incidence of pathological shear rate fields. We tested this via computational fluid dynamic simulations of idealized arteriovenous grafts, using the Bird-Carreau constitutive law for blood. We observed that low graft-to-vein anastomosis angles (< 20 ) led to increased incidence of pathologically low shear rates, and that high graft-to-vein anastomosis angles (> 40 ) led to increased incidence of pathologically high shear rates. Optimizations predicted that an intermediate (∼ 30 ) graft-to-anastomosis angle was optimal. Our study demonstrates that graft-to-vein anastomosis angles can significantly impact pathological flow fields, and can be optimized to substantially improve arteriovenous graft patency rates.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12153
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


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