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Circulation. 1989 Dec;80(6):1726-36.

Intimal fibromuscular hyperplasia at the venous anastomosis of PTFE grafts in hemodialysis patients. Clinical, immunocytochemical, light and electron microscopic assessment.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle.


Failure of arteriovenous communications used for chronic hemodialysis was studied during sequential 5-year periods after placement of either endogenous Brescia-Cimino (B-C) fistulas (50 patients) or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, Gore-Tex) grafts (66 patients). Venous stenosis near the anastomosis was the reason for failure in 45% of PTFE grafts compared with 16% of B-C fistulas (p less than 0.001). Failure occurred, on average, 16 months after PTFE graft placement compared with 22 for B-C fistulas (p = NS). Proximal vein segments removed from five failed and two functioning PTFE graft communications were studied using light and electron microscopy and immunocytochemical techniques. All venous segments removed during surgical shunt repair exhibited a marked intimal hyperplasia. The intimal cellular component was almost exclusively smooth muscle. Accumulation of intracellular lipid droplets was not seen. Foam cells as well as extracellular lipid deposits were absent; macrophages and lymphocytes were absent from the zone of proliferation. Ultrastructural examination revealed a large proportion of extracellular matrix surrounding smooth muscle cells in the neointima. Collagen and elastin were present in the extracellular matrix, in greatest concentration deeper in the intima. Closer to the lumen, most of the extracellular volume consisted of proteoglycan. Hemosiderin was absent from the lesions as were consistent signs of luminal and intimal fibrin. Uniform intimal gradients of actin, collagen, and proteoglycan suggest that this is a steadily progressive, rather than episodic, proliferative response. These clinical and histologic observations and an analysis of hemodynamic stresses support the postulate that upstream release of platelet-derived growth factor, and possibly, shear-induced intimal injury stimulate this response. This myointimal proliferative process provides a readily accessible model of fibromuscular hyperplasia in humans; its understanding may lead to effective methods for its prevention and may provide clues to the pathogenesis of arteriosclerosis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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