Dialysis │ Venous Access Clinic

Dialysis is a medical treatment used in patients with acute or chronic kidney disease (CKD). The dialysis machine filters toxins and excess fluid from the patient’s blood and then returns it to the patient’s circulatory system. Dialysis clinics perform the job that the kidneys usually do when they are healthy. A vascular surgeon must create an internal vascular access to perform dialysis treatment. Vascular doctors use two types of internal vascular access.

Arteriovenous Fistula

This method of venous access involves connecting a vein to a larger artery to cause the vein to distend. The fistula, or large blood vessel, makes it possible to perform dialysis with a low risk of infection. The larger blood vessel also has less risk of becoming clotted. Often, an arteriovenous fistula is created in the lower or upper arm and it allows unrestricted use of the limb. Patients with small veins are not good candidates for this procedure. The biggest risk to patients is that too much blood will pass through the fistula (steal syndrome).

Arteriovenous Graft

The vascular surgeon creates an artificial vein by grafting a tubular piece of Teflon material to both a vein and an artery.

Like the fistula process, the graft is typically used in the upper or lower arm and it offers unrestricted movement of the grafted limb. Unlike the other procedure, arteriovenous graft carries a higher risk of clotting and infection in addition to the risk of steal syndrome.

After Arteriovenous Graft

Due to the potential risks associated with the procedure, the patient needs to take some precautions to prevent complications. For example, you should elevate the limb used for 24 to 48 hours to reduce swelling. Keep the graft site dry and don’t lift or drape heavy items across it. Also, don’t use blood pressure readings, injections, or IV needles on the access arm.

Safe and reliable venous access should be a priority when treating dialysis patients. Every patient is different and requires a personal approach to treatment. The right type of venous access and the choice of access site are just some of the considerations your doctor will make.

Vascular Access

Vascular access is essential for beginning dialysis whether you will receive treatment short-term, intermittently, or for the rest of your life. The Vascular Health Center performs a number of minimally-invasive venous access procedures to help maintain dialysis as well.


These are studies used to monitor patients who have received a fistula or graft. We use a number of indicators such as venous pressure readings, prolonged bleeding, low flow rates, and more to ensure that your dialysis access is performing efficiently.

Placement of Temporary and Permanent Catheters
Vascular Health Center provides the placement of temporary and permanent catheters when the need for dialysis is great. We implement a central venous access in your groin or neck that can be used temporarily. It is a good idea to have access surgery well in advance of beginning the dialysis therapy. This allows the access site to heal and reduces your risk of infection. We can provide a temporary catheter until your permanent fistula or graft has matured.

Vascular Health Center offers comprehensive dialysis access care. Our services ensure your access is preserved and stored as needed to lead a fuller, happier life.