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Vascular Access For Dialysis

What is Access for Dialysis?

People who have been diagnosed with kidney failure need another method to filter the blood and toxins out of their body. To perform hemodialysis, in which the toxins can be cleaned out, the vessels need to be prepared for access.

Treatment Options

Another type of vascular access is called a dialysis graft. It’s used when a suitable vein is not available, yet not as desirable because of its higher risk of infection and because it does not last as long as a fistula. To create this, an artificial tube is tunneled between an artery and a vein. This tube is then stuck with needles to perform dialysis. The third type of hemodialysis access is accomplished by placing a silicone catheter in one of the veins of the neck. The catheter is then tunneled under the skin and its ends are situated on the chest wall. This allows for a patient to be connected to the dialysis machine directly. It is a desirable method for access in patients who have rapid deterioration in their kidney function and need dialysis quickly.

Hemodialysis access involves extracting blood out of the body and filtering it through machine that extracts extra fluid and corrects the chemicals in the blood. In order to remove blood from the body, needles are placed into the skin into a vessel that is prepared for dialysis. One method for preparing access is called a fistula. To create this, a small incision is made on the arm and a vein is connected to one of the arteries in the arm. This vein then enlarges over time and can be stuck over and over to perform dialysis. This method is preferred by CRL surgeons as the best type because of its longevity (often many years) and low resistance to infection.