Dialysis Vascular Access

Dialysis vascular access is a minor surgery that allows for access to blood for hemodialysis. A soft tube connects the access to the dialysis machine, where blood is filtered through a dialyzer, an artificial kidney.

Frequently Asked Questions

Vascular access is done for hemodialysis patients who will undergo frequent needle insertions and thus need strong veins for the procedure.
There are three types of dialysis vascular access: a fistula, graft, and catheter. An artery and vein in the arm are connected to access the blood via a fistula. A graft connects an artery and vein in the arm with a piece of soft tube. A catheter is a way to attain vascular access through a soft tube placed in a large vein in the neck.
An artery-vein fistula is preferred over other types, as it lasts much longer and is less prone to infections and clots.
A fistula should ideally be placed several months before the dialysis so that there is ample time before the patient undergoes dialysis.
The most common risks associated with vascular access procedures are stenosis and infections. Other risks include older age and diabetes.