Arteriovenous Fistula Definition
An arteriovenous fistula Definition (AV fistula) is an abnormal connection between a vein and an artery. Depending on the Arteriovenous Fistula Definition, the connection can be congenital (present at birth). Occasionally the connection can develop because of trauma such as a knife or bullet wound. Most often, the AV fistula is created surgically to allow access to the vascular system for hemodialysis. When created surgically, the connection of a vein and an artery is usually done in the forearm.
Why to make an Arteriovenous Fistula?
Depending on the Arteriovenous Fistula definition, the surgical creation of an AV fistula provides a long-lasting site through which blood can be removed and returned during hemodialysis, Hemodialysis is the process of mechanically cleansing the blood when the kidneys have failed. The fistula, which allows the person to be connected to a dialysis machine, must be prepared by a surgeon weeks or months before dialysis is started. When the vein and artery are joined, blood flow increases and the vein gradually becomes larger and stronger, creating a site that provides vascular access years longer than other types of access and with fewer complications. AV fistulas are for people who will need dialysis for long periods—either until a kidney becomes available for transplantation or for the rest of their life. Short-term access to the vascular system for dialysis can be had by the insertion of a venous catheter.
Is it common to have an Arteriovenous Fistula?
According to the National Kidney Foundation, at the end of 2005, 336,000 Americans were receiving dialysis for kidney failure. Typically, another condition or disease caused the kidney shutdown. In the United States, kidney failure is disproportionately high among minority populations with the highest rate being found among African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans. Among those receiving dialysis, over half will have an AV fistula as vascular access.