The most common treatment for chronic kidney disease or kidney failure is hemodialysis. Hemodialysis is the process of circulating the blood outside of the body, through a filter system, which removes toxins and purifies the blood. If hemodialysis is required on a long-term basis, your physician may recommend that you obtain permanent hemodialysis access.

ARTERIOVENOUS (AV) FISTULA - an artery is sewed together with a vein. It is created by surgically joining an artery and a vein just below the surface of the skin. It takes several weeks to months for the vein portion of the fistula to mature. During this time period, the vessel enlarges and becomes stronger from the increased arterial blood flow. The higher flow in the fistula promotes an easier, more efficient dialysis treatment.

ARTERIOVENOUS (AV) GRAFT - a graft (synthetic tube) is sometimes used instead of sewing an artery to a vein if the vein is determined to be too small. It is surgically placed below the surface of the skin to connect an artery to a vein. After placement of the graft, there is still a required amount of weeks to heal before the graft can be accessed for hemodialysis.

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