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Understanding the Different Types of Dialysis Access Management

Understanding the Different Types of Dialysis Access Management

Dialysis is a life-saving treatment for patients with end-stage kidney disease. However, because dialysis requires access to blood vessels, complications can occur. Some patients may have a higher risk for infections, while other patients may develop blood clots.

Our team at i-Vascular Center both creates access to veins and arteries to make dialysis possible and treats complications of the veins associated with dialysis.

Read on to understand the different types of dialysis access management, and find out which one is best for you.  

Central Venous Catheter (CVC)

A CVC is a flexible tube that specialists insert into the neck, chest, or groin to gain access to one of the central veins. This type of access is preferred when a patient requires emergency dialysis or when dialysis is a temporary measure. 

Placing and removing the tube is easier, but it comes with a few disadvantages. These include not being able to bathe or swim with the CVC on and an increased risk of damaging the central veins.

AV fistula

An AV fistula is a surgical procedure in which an artery and a vein are connected to increase blood flow into the vein and encourage blood to flow back and forth to the dialysis machine. 

With an AV fistula, you’ll reduce your risk for blood clots and infections. However, you may need a temporary type of access, as the connection between the arteries and veins may need a few months to mature. 

An AV fistula is considered the gold standard for dialysis access, but not everyone is a good candidate for it. Good candidates have healthy arteries and veins. 

A specialist may use imaging techniques to examine the state of your veins and arteries, and determine if you’re a good candidate for an AV fistula.

AV graft 

An AV graft is used for patients who will undergo long-term dialysis but aren’t good candidates for an AV fistula. During the procedure, our specialists use a looped, flexible tube to connect your artery and vein. 

The waiting time to use an AV graft is about a month. In the meantime, you’ll receive a temporary means of access to dialysis. 

Learn more about dialysis access management 

If you’re just getting started with dialysis or if you’ve had dialysis for a long time but are now experiencing vein damage, contact us to schedule an appointment. Our staff can help you determine which type of dialysis access is right for you and treat vein damage so you can undergo dialysis without worries. 

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