Forearm Brescia-Cimino arteriovenous fistulas were chosen for the initial clinical evaluation of argon laser-assisted anastomosis of human vessels. Ten patients with chronic renal failure had side-to-side radial artery/cephalic vein fistulas fused by laser. Incisions 1.2 to 1.5 cm in length were made in adjacent segments of artery and vein and were aligned for application of laser energy by four 6-0 polypropylene sutures. The sutures divided each fistula into four segments that were 5.0 to 6.5 mm long. Each segment was sealed satisfactorily in 75 to 100 seconds by use of 0.5 W, 1130 to 1520 joule/cm2 argon laser energy fluence. Seven (17.5%) of 40 bonds required an additional 7-0 biodegradable suture to close small gaps that did not fuse adequately. Serial prospective follow-up studies of the patients by physical examination and duplex scanning for periods of 12 to 20 months (15.4 ± 2.8, n = 7) postoperatively have shown uniformly patent, compliant anastomoses with no evidence of hematomas, false aneurysms, or luminal narrowing. Histologic examination of two patent fistulas that were excised during revision procedures at 4 and 5 months postoperatively showed healing of the entire circumference of the anastomosis similar to that noted in extensive preclinical canine studies. We conclude from these preliminary results that argon laser vascular tissue fusion is possible in humans when reliable primary sealing of vascular anastomoses is achieved, and that healing occurs without aneurysmal dilatation during follow-up of up to 20 months.