A Dialysis Arterial Venous Shunt is a connection between a vein and an artery, usually in the forearm or upper arm. This provides easy access to the vascular system for hemodialysis, a procedure that performs the function of the kidney, in people whose kidneys have failed. Connecting the vein and artery is a surgical procedure.
Sometimes these connections become narrowed or plugged, making 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.
Within the Radiology Department at the hospital, the patient will change into a gown. The nurse will explain the procedure and ask some medical history questions.
The shunt area will be cleaned with sterile soap. The doctor will sometimes use an Ultrasound machine to locate the shunt. After numbing your skin the doctor will use a very small needle to gain access to the shunt. Contrast (X-ray dye) will be injected and X-ray images will tell the doctor if there is any narrowing in the shunt or veins.
If a narrowing is found, then a Venoplasty, just like an Angioplasty, will be performed. Sometimes a Stent may need to be placed in a vein. Once again, X-rays will be taken to ensure the shunt is open with good blood flow. After the needle is removed a dressing will be placed on the site. The Radiology nurse will provide going home instructions.
Generally the only thing you will feel is a slight bee sting when the doctor numbs your skin at the access site. Sometimes there is slight discomfort when the Venoplasty balloon is inflated for a few seconds.
Generally you can get back to your normal activity that evening. The doctor or nurse will let you know for sure.
The doctor will be able to tell you and your family the results as soon as the procedure is finished.