What is an AV Fistula?
To understand what an AV fistula is, it may be helpful to learn about dialysis first. Healthy kidneys remove waste and excess water from the blood.
They also help make red blood cells and work to control blood pressure. When kidneys fail, they are unable to complete these functions. Patients with failing kidneys may need hemodialysis, or dialysis, to perform these functions for them.
During dialysis, the dialysis machine takes blood from the patient and runs it through a filter. The filter helps remove toxins and waste from the blood. After it gets filtered, the blood is returned to the body.
Patients need two important things for dialysis. The first is adequate blood flow. The second is access from the bloodstream to the dialysis machine.
An arteriovenous (AV) fistula creates a direct connection between a vein and artery in the arm. This connection helps to provide the adequate blood flow needed for dialysis. It causes extra pressure so more blood can flow into the vein, making it larger and stronger. The larger vein allows for better access into the bloodstream.
How is the WavelinQ™ 4F EndoAVF System Different?
In the past, AV fistula creation required a surgical procedure. During the surgical procedure, a vascular surgeon makes an incision in the patient’s arm using a scalpel. Then, he finds an appropriate vein, moves it and sews it to an artery. Next, he stitches the incision closed and the patient must allow several weeks for the wound to heal.
The WavelinQ 4F™ EndoAVF System is minimally-invasive, which means there are no surgical incisions. The vascular surgeon inserts two thin devices into the artery and vein through small needle punctures. Magnets align the devices and make a connection between the vein and the artery in the forearm. The surgeon removes the devices and the arm heals without stitches and little to no scarring.
Talk to a USA Vascular Surgeon about Your Access Options
Like any technology, this new system may not be a good fit for every dialysis patient. It is important for a vascular surgeon to examine your veins and arms. This helps determine if your anatomy will support this type of AV fistula.
To make an appointment with Dr. Joels at USA Vascular, call 423-267-0466.