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What is an arteriovenous fistula (AVF) creation for hemodialysis?

A fistula is the recommended choice of access for hemodialysis in people who have kidney failure. It is made by joining an artery to a nearby vein under your skin to make a bigger blood vessel. This type of access is preferred because it has fewer problems and lasts longer. You should be evaluated by a special doctor called a vascular surgeon at least six months before you will need to start dialysis. Your kidney doctor or the surgeon may order an ultrasound evaluation of your blood vessels to see the ideal ones for the fistula. This evaluation is called "vessel mapping." A fistula should be placed early (several months before starting dialysis), so it has plenty of time to heal and be ready for use by the time you begin hemodialysis.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.