The Effect of Geometric Graft Modification on Arteriovenous Graft Patency in Haemodialysis Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Pamir Sawo, Andrew Moufarrej, Marije Sloff, Maarten G. Snoeijs, Tammo Delhaas, Jan H. M. Tordoir, Barend M. E. Mees*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


Objective: Arteriovenous grafts (AVGs) are the second best option for haemodialysis access when native arteriovenous fistulae placement is not possible, because they have a lower patency owing to neointimal hyperplasia at the venous anastomosis. This review aimed to evaluate the effect of geometric graft modification to the graft-vein interface on AVG patency.

Data sources: The MEDLINE and Embase (OvidSP) databases were systematically searched for relevant studies analysing the effect of geometrically modified AVGs on graft patency and stenosis formation (last search July 2019). Review methods: Data regarding AVG type, patency, and graft outlet stenosis was extracted for further evaluation. Data were pooled in a random effects model to estimate the relative risk of graft occlusion within one year. Follow up, number of patients, and relevant patient characteristics were extracted for the quality assessment of the included studies using Newcastle-Ottawa Scale and Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool. The quality of the evidence was determined according to the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations (GRADE) system.

Results: Search strategies produced 2772 hits, of which eight articles met predetermined inclusion criteria. Overall, the included articles had low to moderate risk of bias. In total, 414 expanded polytetrafluoroethylene AVGs (232 geometrically modified and 182 standard) were analysed, comprising two modified AVG types: a prosthetic cuff design (Venaflo (R)) and grafts with a Tyrell vein patch. Overall, modified grafts did not show a statistically significantly higher one year primary (relative risk [RR] 0.86, 95% confidence interval [CI] 95% 0.64-1.16; GRADE: "low to very low") or secondary patency (RR 0.57, 95% CI 0.32-1.02; GRADE: "low to very low") when compared with standard AVGs. Analysis of prosthetic cuffed grafts (112 patients) separately demonstrated a statistically significantly higher one year primary (RR 0.75, 95% CI 0.61-0.91) and one year secondary patency (RR 0.47, 95% CI 0.30-0.75) compared with standard grafts (92 patients). The results on stenosis formation were inconclusive and inadmissible to quantitative analyses.

Conclusion: The meta-analysis showed that a prosthetic cuff design significantly improves AVG patency, while a venous cuff does not. Although the heterogeneity and low number of available studies limit the strength of the results, this review shows the potential of grafts with geometric modification to the graft-vein anastomosis and should stimulate further clinical and fundamental research on improving graft geometry to improve graft patency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)568-577
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Arteriovenous graft
  • Graft modification
  • Haemodialysis
  • Meta-analysis
  • FLOW

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