Fistula for dialysis
Patients with kidney failure need dialysis to remove by products from their blood stream and help fluids and electrolyte balance in their body. There 2 main methods of dialysis through the blood stream (haemodialysis) or through the fluid in their abdomen(peritoneal dialysis)
The vascular surgeon provides the haemodialysis access by creating a fistula where a vein is attached to an artery usually in the upper limb. This creates an AV fistula and the vein enlarges and developes a thicker, stronger wall enabling needles to be placed for dialysis.
Fistula surgery is usually performed at the wrist, elbow or upper arm and requires a preoperative scan to decide the best site. Fistula maturation usually takes a minimum of 6 weeks, sometimes longer. Occasionally the fistula may not fully mature for a number of reasons and may require angioplasty(balloon assisted dilatation) or more surgery.