What does a dialysis shunt do?


Quick Answer

A dialysis shunt enables the movement of blood to a vein from an artery, according to HealthTap. In doing so, a higher blood flow access is made available for dialysis. The connector that facilitates the transfer of the blood is called a shunt.

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Full Answer

The site from which blood is drawn and to where it is returned is known as the dialysis access, says WebMD. Types of hemodialysis access include a graft, venous catheter and fistula. While the first two involve the use of synthetic materials, the fistula is created by connecting a vein to an artery in the lower arm. In the case of a graft, a synthetic tube is implanted in the arm, beneath the skin. For venous catheter access, a catheter or tube is usually inserted into a vein in the groin, neck or chest.

Choice of dialysis access partly depends on how soon hemodialysis needs to be started, notes WebMD.

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