Difference between dialysis shunt and fistula

dialysis shunt and fistula

Dialysis shunt


Dialysis is an artificial process of filtering that removes from the blood the waste products of metabolism and the water. For this to a work medical personnel uses a dialyzer. Once purified, the dialysis device returns the blood to the body. There are several procedures that you can choose.

A connection between a vein and an artery is generally known as dialysis arterial venous shunt, commonly in the forearm or upper arm. This helps in easy access to the vascular system for haemodialysis. Haemodialysis is a procedure that performs the function of the kidney, in human bodies whose kidneys have failed. Connecting the vein and artery is a surgical method. Sometimes these arterial and venous connections become narrowed or clogged which makes the dialysis more difficult. The study is performed in the Interventional Radiology Department at the hospital to check the connection for narrowing and correct the problem if necessary.


Most permanent option of access to your circulation other than haemodialysis is by means of a fistula. In common cases, flow through the superficial veins of the body is somewhat slow and low in volume yet, for dialysis, at least 200l of blood is needed to be removed every minute for treatment. To get this condition for the treatment a fistula is constructed. A fistula is an artificially formed link between an artery and a vein. Whenever a vein is exposed to the higher pressure from the artery, the walls of the vein become thicken and more highlighted and thus more capable of withstanding repeated puncture by needles. The fistula is commonly placed at the wrist or in the inner part of the elbow this depends upon the size of the blood vessels in the non-dominant arm which can be either left or right hand. This because when the dialysis is in process the patient can easily perform other essential activities as well. The construction of the fistula is done in the operation theatre, commonly under a local anaesthesia. However there are also some occasions when you may need a general anaesthetic. After the construction of the fistula it begins to mature. This process commonly takes between six to eight weeks and depends up on the initial size of the blood vessels. Even before the fistula becomes usable, the rush of blood through its new path can be felt. This sensation is called a ‘thrill’.

Main difference between a fistula and dialysis shunt

The main difference between fistula and dialysis shunt is that a dialysis shunt is an artificially formed link between an artery and a vein using synthetic tubular material while on the other fistula is a connection between your vein and an artery.

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