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.

Continue Learning about Dialysis


Healthy kidneys remove waste from your blood and produce hormones your body needs. If your kidneys fail, you either need a kidney transplant or dialysis. Dialysis is a procedure that uses a machine to perform many of the functions ...

of the kidney. Dialysis can help prevent problems resulting from kidney failure and it allows people with kidney failure to live productive lives. Dialysis filters your blood, and like a health kidney, removes waste from your blood. Patients using dialysis are also required to follow a strict diet in order to stay healthy. There are two types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. There are different advantages and disadvantages with both hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Talk to your doctor about which type of dialysis would work better for you.

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.