Arteriovenous Fistula for Dialysis

What is the idea behind establishing an Arteriovenous Fistula for Dialysis?

Dialysis is the process of mechanically cleansing the blood when the kidneys have failed. The surgical creation of an arteriovenous fistula for dialysis provides a long-lasting site through which blood can be removed and returned during dialysis.

What is dialysis?

The kidneys are paired organs in the mid-abdomen, one on each side of the lower back. Their function is to clean the blood of wastes and to regulate fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. Dialysis performs these functions in place of the failing kidneys. Dialysis cannot restore kidney function, but it can prolong life, often for years, by preventing the build-up of waste products in the body.

Acute kidney failure usually happens in circumstances where an extra burden is placed on the renal system. For example, acute kidney failure can occur in advanced liver disease, rapidly progressing terminal illnesses such as cancer and certain severe anemias, after severe allergic reactions, as a reaction to drugs or poisons, in heart and lung diseases, during the formation of blood clots (embolism), and following heart bypass surgery. Diabetes and vascular diseases, especially those with hypertension, are the two most common underlying diseases contributing to chronic kidney failure.

Development of Arteriovenous Fistula for Dialysis

Many advances in the treatment of kidney failure have been made since the first attempts at dialysis treatments in the 1920s. At one time, dialysis was thought of only as a way to keep people alive until kidney function could be restored. Often the treatment for kidney failure had to be discontinued within several days because patients’ veins could not endure the trauma that occurred with frequent withdrawing and replacing of blood. The first breakthrough came in 1960 with the introduction of an implantable Teflon tube, called a shunt, that became the first effective vascular access device. Since then, the development of the Arteriovenous Fistula for Dialysis has marked another important advance, allowing effective treatment for longer periods.