What is a fistula?

Post date: July 19, 2011
A fistula is a connection that is surgically created between an artery and a vein.  This is generally done 6 to 12 months prior to needing dialysis so that the vein can dilate under the pressure of the blood coming from the artery.  The vein must dilate to sufficient size that needles can be placed into the vein for adequate blood flow rate on dialysis (usually 500 to 600 milliliters per minute).  This fistula is most commonly placed in the lower forearm or the upper arm above the elbow.