What is Involved in this Procedure
We mentioned the fact that the EndoAVF procedure is a relatively new innovation in this field, so you might be asking yourself – what came before it? The creation of an arteriovenous fistula (AVF) used to be conducted surgically. Surgeons would make incisions on the patient’s arm, manually reconfigure the vessels underneath so that an artery flows into an adjacent vein, and then close up the site. This complex procedure would often result in unsightly scarring, not to mention the high rates of failure reported.
The functionality behind connecting an artery to a vein in the patient’s forearm causes the vein to become enlarged and its walls to thicken due to the increased pressure it experiences. After a few weeks to a month, it will have ‘matured,’ meaning it is ready to handle the dialysis process that will take place along this mature section of the patient’s vascular system. This is the all-important vascular access point we keep mentioning.
The innovation that is the EndoAVF procedure lies in the Endo- PART. It refers to the fact that non-surgical methods create the vascular access point suitable for the dialysis process. In the EndoAVF process, specialists will make use of a dual magnetic catheter system. These are basically two very slim implements inserted into one suitably selected artery and vein either through the upper arm or through the wrist.
After being guided along their selected pathways through fluoroscopic imaging, they will be halted at the chosen location to create the fistula (the place where the artery will join up with the vein). Here, a radiofrequency burst of energy will be released, creating a channel or link opening between the two implements. The arteriovenous fistula will thus have been established non-surgically.
It will then be a matter of simply withdrawing the implements through their tiny openings and leaving the access point to ‘mature’ and ready for dialysis treatment. It is estimated that 90% of people have suitable vascular configurations to have this procedure carried out successfully.