AV Graft for Dialysis

What is AV graft?

  • An arteriovenous (AV) graft is a type of access used for hemodialysis.
  • The graft is usually placed in the arm, but may be placed in the leg if necessary.
  • An AV graft is the connection of a vein and an artery that utilizes a hollow, synthetic tube (the actual “graft”). 
  • The material used here in this graft is synthetic.


  • Local anesthesia is administered to the area selected for graft placement.
  • The physician makes two small incisions in order to access the artery and vein. Next, one end of the graft is surgically connected to the artery, the other end is connected to the vein. Once placed, blood now flows from the artery, through the graft and into the vein. This allows needles to be placed into the graft for hemodialysis.


  • An AV graft provides a solution for small or weak veins.
  • An AV graft can be used as soon as two to four weeks after placement.
  • AV graft surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis, under local anesthetic, allowing for a rapid and easy recovery.

When to consider AV graft as best choice?

If the veins are too small for a AV fistula to properly develop or if the veins are not healthy, that would be a better candidate for an AV graft. 


  • Physicians will instruct patient to keep their arm/leg elevated, either by raising it or propping it with a pillow to reduce swelling and pain at the access site. 
  • Patient may feel some slight discomfort or swelling in the arms for a few days, but this is not uncommon. If patients are able to feel a slight vibration (thrill) through the bandage this means the graft is working properly.


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