Vascular access is extremely important for patients who are undergoing hemodialysis. To create this access, an arteriovenous (AV) fistula or graft is needed in order to allow blood vessels to be easily reached. An AV fistula or graft then permits the filtering of blood through the dialysis process. Intended for long-term use, both a fistula and a graft help as much blood as possible flow through a dialyzer, a machine that cleans waste from the blood when the kidneys are no longer able to do so. At Arizona Premier Surgery, our experienced surgeons provide AV fistula and graft procedures for patients who have experienced kidney failure in order to make the dialysis process more efficient. Contact our facility today to learn more or to schedule your initial consultation with one of our board-certified surgeons.
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Common Reasons for Surgery
The primary reason for the placement of an AV fistula or graft is to allow for vascular access in patients who need dialysis treatments. Hemodialysis is needed for patients who have experienced kidney failure, which could be caused by several different reasons including:
- Chronic kidney disease
- High blood pressure
- Certain autoimmune diseases (such as Lupus)
- Nephrotic syndrome
- Urinary tract conditions
- Acute kidney injury
About AV Fistula and Grafts
An AV fistula creates a connection between an artery and a vein, and it is typically placed in the forearm or upper arm of a patient. With a fistula, extra pressure and blood are able to flow into the vein, creating improved blood flow. The AV fistula surgical process will occur as an outpatient procedure with anesthesia. Prior to the procedure, patients may need to undergo vessel mapping so that the ideal blood vessels can be used for the fistula.
An AV graft utilizes a small plastic tube in order to connect the artery to a vein. A graft is most often used when the veins are blocked or too small for a fistula. The graft is man-made and is looped to make the connection. Similar to the fistula procedure, the placement of an AV graft will occur as an outpatient procedure with anesthesia.
What to Expect
Following both a fistula and graft procedure, patients may need to be monitored overnight, although, most patients are permitted to return home after their procedure. While an AV graft can typically be used within 2 – 3 weeks following insertion, a fistula may require 2 – 3 months before it is ready for use. However, a graft has a higher risk of infection and clotting compared to a fistula. After your procedure, your Arizona Premier Surgery surgeon will provide you with the appropriate after-care instructions, including how to reduce your risk for complications. You will also need to attend follow-up appointments so that your healing process can be properly evaluated before you begin dialysis treatments.
Plan Your Procedure
- Recovery Time
- 2 Days
Dialysis treatments are crucial for many patients who have experienced kidney failure and they are only possible with an AV fistula or graft procedure. At Arizona Premier Surgery, we work with many kidney failure patients to understand their treatment needs and identify their requirements for either a fistula or graft. To learn more about either procedure, contact our practice today to schedule your consultation.