Dialysis Access

Dialysis access surgery is a minor procedure that creates a passageway to the bloodstream for kidney dialysis treatment. High quality access will allow the full benefit of dialysis to help the patient feel as well as possible. There are two types of permanent vascular dialysis access. Both types of access have one common goal: to make it easier to reach the blood vessels for dialysis.

AVF (Arterial Venous Fistula): A fistula is made by joining an artery to a vein. This is considered the best choice, because studies show it will last longer and has a lower rate of infection.

AVG (Arterial Venous Graft): A graft is like a fistula because it joins a vein and an artery together. The difference is that a graft uses an implanted tube to connect the artery to the vein. The graft is considered the second best choice and may be used if the patient’s blood vessels are not suitable for creating a fistula.

Our Vascular team will recommend and provide the vascular access best suited for each patient.

Ensuring Performance of Your Dialysis Access

These treatments are performed to correct any problems with your dialysis access and return it to healthy function.

Angioplasty/Ballooning: This procedure is performed to repair and improve the blood flow in the fistula or graft access. During the angioplasty procedure, the physician threads a balloon-tipped catheter to the site of narrowing and inflates the balloon to open the blocked or narrowed passage.

Declotting: This is a procedure in which a catheter is inserted through a small puncture into the fistula or graft access. A device is advanced through the catheter to break the clot into small particles which are then removed through the catheter.

Ligation of Branches: This is a minor surgery performed to improve the blood flow through the fistula. Sometimes the vein used to create access has too many branches which steal blood from the fistula. When this happens, the fistula cannot mature and provide good dialysis. During surgery, the physician will tie off these branches to improve blood flow through the fistula to help it function properly.