Connecting an artery to a vein to create good blood flow for dialysis treatments
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our heart or vascular specialists.
Dialysis cleans and filters your blood in a machine that is connected to your blood vessels with two tubes. One method we can use to help your blood to flow freely through the tubes is to create a fistula.
A fistula is created by surgically attaching a vein to an artery, which allows the vein to enlarge and become thicker, like an artery. This type of access is known to have fewer complications and last longer than catheters or grafts.
Our Vascular and Endovascular Program allows surgeons to work with kidney specialists to determine the best dialysis access for your unique and complex conditions. Our doctors work at multiple locations, meaning you can get treatment close to home.
What to expect when getting a dialysis fistula
You may be asked to not eat or drink before the surgery. If you are taking any medications, ask your doctor if you should take them the day of your procedure. You will receive a sedative and a local anesthetic, but you likely will not require general anesthesia.
Your doctor will make a small incision in your arm and connect a portion of your artery to a vein. The incision will be closed and covered with a bandage. You will be taken to a recovery area and monitored for several hours.
You will likely be able to return home the day of the procedure, but someone will need to drive you. The fistula may take several weeks to fully enlarge, and your doctor may recommend special exercises to increase blood flow.
A fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that uses a continuous X-ray beam passed through the body to create real-time, moving images of your internal structures.