Professor Ramon Varcoe

AV Fistula Creation, Angioplasty and Stenting

The arteriovenous or AV fistula is a surgically created join between an artery and vein, usually in the arm or leg. It is performed for people who have kidney failure to provide a place to access the blood stream to facilitate haemodialysis.

Once created it takes at least six weeks to mature for use and in some people may take a lot longer. Because of this maturation time it is often performed pre-emptivley for patients who are approaching haemodialysis or in those who choose an alternative form of dialysis as a back-up in case that form fails.

Occasionally the AV fistula may not mature after formation or may mature but then develop problems. These problems include narrowing in a segment that threatens to block the fistula or extends the time taken to dialyse effectively. Angioplasty and stenting of the AV fistula may be required under such circumstances and are preferred over more invasive surgical fistula revision under most circumstances.