PTFE vs Dacron Grafts

If the patient is not a good candidate for an arteriovenous fistula, an arteriovenous graft is the next best choice to use as vascular access for hemodialysis.

Arteriovenous grafts, or prosthetic bridge grafts, are conduits made from artificial tubing. One end is attached to an artery and the other to a vein. The graft is tunneled under the skin, and is used as a cannulation site for hemodialysis.

The ideal vascular graft must closely mimic the blood vessels, be easy to handle, strong enough to undergo repeated punctures, resistant to infections and with a relatively low degree of thrombogenicity. There are many available materials used for creating grafts, both biological and synthetic.

Synthetic grafts have been shown to have less complications and are less prone to sepsis or aneurisms than biological grafts. The two most common used materials for creating synthetic AV grafts are polytetrafluethylene (PTFE) and Dacron.

Differences between PTFE and Dacron AV Grafts

PTFE Grafts

PTFE grafts are the most common type of graft and are considered to be the graft of choice for hemodialysis access around the world. PFTE grafts were first used as a conduit in the late 1970’s. PFTE, also known as Teflon, is a synthetic material, readily available. It has been shown that PTFE grafts are easy to implant, cannulate with ease and carry a relatively low rate of infection.

PTFE grafts can typically be used for dialysis within 2-3 weeks.

Dacron Grafts

Dacron grafts, also known as polyester grafts, were first used in the mid 1950’s. Dacron too is a synthetic material, and is available in either woven or knitted forms. The knitted form has high porosity and good stability.  It contains no harmful chemicals is generally well tolerated by the immune system.

Experimental data indicates that PFTE grafts are less prone to thrombosis and infection, and show increased porosity, better adhesion and improved pliability in comparison with Dacron grafts.  Other research suggests that both graft types show equal performance, with similar primary patency rates.

The improvements made in graft design and materials have made a huge impact on the quality of lives of graft patients. Even so, fistulas are still the number one choice for vascular access when possible, now made even safer by use of VasQ, a device used during fistula surgery, regulating and reinforcing to allow for a better maturation and patency rate of fistula. For more information on vascular access for hemodialysis patients and on VasQ device please contact us.