A hemodialysis fistula is a kind of access that surgeons create for dialysis patients, according to the National Kidney Foundation. In this procedure, the artery and the vein are directly connected.
The purpose of this connection, which would otherwise be an abnormality, is to slowly enlarge the patient's vein, states the University of Washington Medicine. This makes it easier for the patient's body to receive the blood that has been purified by the hemodialysis machine.
Creating the fistula is an outpatient surgery, though the patient is placed under general anesthesia, according to the University of Washington Medicine. The fistula is usually created in the arm, but can be created in the leg.