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Graft and Fistula Maintenance


Arteriovenous (AV) Fistula Catheter

The AV fistula is a type of permanent vascular catheter involving a direct connection between an artery (carries blood away from the heart) and a vein (carries blood back to the heart) where two needles are inserted for withdrawing blood and returning filtered blood. The connection between a vein and artery, (underneath the skin), allows for adequate blood flow during dialysis and leads to stronger veins to make repeated needle insertion easier. This artificial connection allows the vein to become larger and for the walls of the vein to thicken, also called maturation. A mature fistula makes it easier for the vein to be punctured repeatedly for dialysis. Maturation typically takes three to six months to occur, but in rare cases, can take up to a year. AV Fistulas are the preferred vascular catheters for long-term dialysis patients because they last longer than any other catheters and are less prone to infection and clotting.

Arteriovenous Graft Catheter

If a patient is not a good candidate for an AV fistula catheter, an arteriovenous graft is considered. An arteriovenous graft is a piece of artificial tubing, generally made out of teflon or fabric, that is attached on one end to an artery, and on the other end to a vein. The tube is placed entirely under the skin and the tube itself is punctured during dialysis. An arteriovenous graft can generally be used for two to three weeks; however, they are prone to infection and clotting. The lifespan of an arteriovenous graft is approximately two to three years.

Atlanta Vascular and Vein Center is located in Lawrenceville, GA servicing patients living in Metro Atlanta, Gwinnett County and the surrounding communities including Duluth, Dacula, and Grayson. Call 678-878-4555 today to schedule an appointment today.