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Dialysis Access

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Patients diagnosed with chronic kidney disease or kidney failure will need to undergo regular hemodialysis treatment in which their blood is circulated through a machine that acts as an artificial kidney to remove toxins. If you are expected to require this treatment for a long period of time, the first step is to establish an easy method – meaning a semi-permanent port – through which you can be hooked up the machine. Dialysis access is most often provided in the arm, but may sometimes be provided through the leg, and there are several types of access that our surgeons can provide depending on the patient’s needs.

The first type of dialysis port is called an arteriovenous fistula. Here, your vascular surgeon connects an artery and a vein just below the skin in your arm. Over several weeks, the vein portion of this fistula will become larger due to the additional blood flow, and soon after this you will undergo a second procedure to move the fistula closer to the surface.

The second type of dialysis access is called an arteriovenous graft, or AV graft for short. Here, an artificial artery made of synthetic material is used to connect an artery and vein. After enough time is allowed for healing, this artificial tube can be punctured with a needle each time dialysis is required.

The last type of dialysis access is a dialysis catheter, which is connected to a central vein in the neck. While this type of access can be used immediately and avoids the use of needles to connect a patient to dialysis, it is only a temporary measure because of the risk of infection and clotting.

Get more information on the dialysis access procedures we provide by calling 813.933.3324 or request an appointment via this form.