AV or arterio-venous fistulas are unusual linkages between arteries and veins. In general, pure blood passes from the arteries to the capillaries to the veins and becomes devoid of nutrients and oxygen (becomes ‘impure’) by the time it reaches the veins. The capillaries in between absorb the nutrients, to supply them to the tissues and organs lying beneath them. In the case of AV fistulas, the capillaries are bypassed and blood passes directly between the arteries and the veins. Thus, organs are deprived of nutrients.
This can be a severe condition, leading even to heart failure.
AV fistulas and dialysis
Sometimes, AV fistulas have to be deliberately created on the body, to treat for severe kidney ailments requiring dialysis.
What is the surgical procedure for creation of AV fistulas for dialysis?
Following are the steps-
• A vascular specialist checks your arteries and veins to make sure they are sturdy enough to be able to support an AV fistula.
• Then, with the help of wave techniques or an angiogram, the depth of your blood vessels is recorded.
• Anaesthesia is then used on the spot, which is chosen for your AV fistula. Local anaesthesia (anaesthesia of only that spot) is preferred over central anaesthesia (anaesthesia of the whole body).
• With the help of a small cut on the skin surface, the surgeon accesses your blood vessels and makes a connection between arteries and veins.
After this process is completed, dialysis takes usually some weeks to begin.
Why should you go for AV fistula?
Following are the advantages-
• Foreign chemicals or devices, which may cause invasion and damage to vital internal organs, are not introduced in your body.
• As only local anaesthesia is administered, you have to spend significantly less recovery time or ‘downtime’ after surgery.
• There is less chance of the wound becoming infected.
• There is a reduced danger of clotting.
AV fistulas are in essence an unusual connection between your arteries and veins, leading to undernourished organs due to capillaries being bypassed. In some cases like dialysis, AV fistulas need to be created and closely monitored. There are several advantages to this, but you will also need recovery time after the procedure is over.