Q:

Is the AV fistula the best hemodialysis method?

A:

Quick Answer

An arteriovenous fistula is recommended for hemodialysis because it lasts longer, provides good blood flow and is not as likely to cause complications, explains the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. An AV fistula makes a vein grow and strengthen, which makes the repeated puncturing required by hemodialysis possible.

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Full Answer

There are two kinds of access to a vein that are designed for long-term use, and the AV fistula usually leads to fewer problems over time than an AV graft, says the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. An AV fistula is created by connecting an artery to a vein, which produces extra pressure and blood flow. Over a period of two to three months the vein becomes stronger, until it can be used for the repeated penetrations hemodialysis requires. If the vein fails to develop, a surgeon repeats the procedure, or an AV graft is used instead.

An AV graft is similar to an AV fistula because it connects an artery to a vein using a plastic tube, according to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. It is more prone to infection and clotting, but it is available for use sooner than an AV fistula, usually within two to three weeks. A venous catheter is the third type of access to a vein, but it is suitable only for short-term access.

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