Dialysis Access Specialist

Vascular Surgery Specialists

Board Certified Vascular and Endovascular Surgeons located in Downtown Phoenix & East Valley, Phoenix, AZ

Dialysis access refers to the point on your body at which your dialyzer removes and returns your blood as it filters it. At Vascular Surgery Specialists in Phoenix, Arizona, the board-certified vascular experts help you select and prepare your dialysis access before you start regular dialysis sessions. To find out more about each type of dialysis access and compare them, call Vascular Surgery Specialists, or book an appointment online today.

Dialysis Access Q & A

What is dialysis?

Dialysis is the most commonly available treatment option for chronic kidney disease or kidney failure. Your kidneys are responsible for filtering toxins out of your blood. When they fail to do so, dialysis is an alternative way to filter your blood.

During dialysis, a machine called a dialyzer performs the regular function of your kidneys. You must undergo dialysis about three times per week for about four hours at a time under close monitoring. 

In some cases, you only need to undergo dialysis for a short period of time in order to improve the health of your kidneys. However, in many cases, chronic kidney disease progresses to kidney failure, and dialysis must last for the rest of your life unless you get a kidney transplant. 

What is dialysis access?

Dialysis access refers to the route to reach your blood while performing dialysis to filter it. Your Vascular Surgery Specialists provider selects a dialysis access point through which they insert the tube to remove and return your blood during your regular dialysis treatment sessions. There are three basic types:

Arteriovenous (AV) fistula

The AV fistula is widely considered the best long-term type of dialysis access. Your surgeon creates an access portal, usually in your arm, by connecting an artery and vein in the region. You can also get an AV fistula in your leg. 

AV graft

If an AV fistula isn’t possible because of weak vessels, your provider might recommend an AV graft. For this type of dialysis access, they connect a piece of tubing to an artery and vein in your arm. 

Venous catheter

A venous catheter is a flexible tube. Your provider places it in a large vein. The most common area to place a venous catheter is the neck. 

How can I keep my dialysis access working?

You need to consider your dialysis access throughout your day-to-day life. Your provider evaluates it regularly to make sure it’s working well enough for effective, regular dialysis. You should also check your dialysis access regularly and follow these steps to help it work for as long as possible:

  • Avoid tight clothes and jewelry
  • Avoid heavy lifting
  • Avoid laying or sleeping on the dialysis access
  • Check your pulse regularly
  • Avoid blood draws from the arm with the dialysis access
  • Apply gentle pressure if the dialysis access bleeds
  • Call your physician if the dialysis access continues bleeding for 30 minutes or longer

An inadequate or damaged dialysis access could make dialysis sessions less effective in filtering your blood from toxins. If you’re unsure about the efficacy of your dialysis access, be sure to contact Vascular Surgery Specialists for additional information. 

If you have chronic kidney disease or kidney failure and need to go on dialysis, call Vascular Surgery Specialists, or book an appointment online for expert dialysis access and follow-up care today.