Vascular (Dialysis) Access Surgery
Hemodialysis is a treatment for kidney failure that uses a machine, outside the body, to remove waste products for the blood. In order for the treatment to work, large volumes of blood must be rapidly removed from the patient’s body, passed through filters in the machine, and returned to the body. The veins we have are too small, too fragile, and don’t carry enough blood to be used in their natural state for hemodialysis. Therefore, every patient who begins hemodialysis must undergo an operation which allows them to be connected to the dialysis machine. These procedures are called vascular access procedures.
There are two vascular access procedures for long-term use, arteriovenous fistulas (called fistulas) and arteriovenous grafts (called grafts). A third type of vascular access, a hemodialysis catheter, is only for short-term use.
A fistula is a direct surgical connection between an artery (high flow/high pressure blood) and a vein (low flow/low pressure).
A graft is a plastic tube that is implanted into a patients arm or thigh.
For further questions or to make an appointment please contact the Vascular Health Alliance at 864-454-8272.