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Dialysis is a common treatment for kidney failure. A dialysis machine acts as an artificial kidney and draws blood from your body, circulates and cleanses it, and then returns it to your body. Vascular access is needed to serve as a long-lasting site through which large amounts of blood can be removed and returned during dialysis. One of the more common types of vascular access is called an arteriovenous or AV fistula.
An AV fistula is a connection of an artery to a vein, usually in the forearm, made by a vascular surgeon. This connection causes increased blood flow through the vein, which results in it growing larger and stronger. This stronger vein is better able to handle repeated use, and avoid collapse, during dialysis treatments. AV fistulas are considered ideal means of access for dialysis as they are unlikely to become infected or cause clots.
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