Understanding the Different Types of Dialysis Access

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Dialysis Access

Hemodialysis is the treatment that your doctor may recommend if you have kidney failure. It involves the filtration of fluids, waste, and salts from your blood. This treatment is essential as it helps you carry on with day-to-day activities despite failing kidneys. However, before treatment, you need to have dialysis access in Bakersfield – a catheter that facilitates the treatment process. Consulting with your specialist will help you understand the four types of dialysis access and which one is suitable for you.

Types of dialysis access

Central Venous Catheter (CVC)

This type of catheter is long, flexible, and made out of plastic. While placing this catheter, your doctor will make a small incision on either your upper chest, neck, or groin and guide the catheter into a vein. The two flexible tubes at the Y end that remain outside your body facilitate the transfer of blood from your body to the dialysis machine and vice versa. When not in use, you should place a protective cap at both ends of the Y-shaped tubes. This type of dialysis is temporary, and your doctor may recommend it if you need immediate treatment.

Advantages of Central Venous Catheter

  •         The process of placing and removing the catheter is fast and straightforward.
  •         You can go home the same day after the procedure

Advantages of Central Venous Catheter

  • You may experience catheter malfunction, including dislodgement, blockage, or breakage of the catheter.
  • Your doctor may advise against activities such as swimming and taking baths to avoid submerging your chest in water.
  • You may obtain an injury during the placement of the catheter.
  • There is also a risk for an infection which may lead to life-threatening complications such as sepsis.

Arteriovenous fistula

Your doctor may recommend an AV fistula if your veins are healthy and there is no need for immediate dialysis. Before getting an AV fistula, your doctor will perform vessel mapping using ultrasound to ensure your veins are healthy and large enough for this type of dialysis. During the procedure, your specialist will use local anesthesia to numb your arm or leg. By making a small incision, your doctor will locate the vein or artery to create the fistula, make an incision and close the incision using sutures. It is normal to experience pain, bruising, and slight swelling around the access site. This may last for several days. You need several months to heal before the AV fistula can be used for dialysis.

Arteriovenous graft

This is an excellent choice for patients with small or weak veins. Unlike an AV fistula, your vascular specialist will connect one end of a synthetic tube to your veins and arteries instead of directly connecting your vein to the artery. Patients with an AV graft require a shorter recovery period compared to ones with an AV fistula.

Peritoneal dialysis catheter

Peritoneal dialysis is different from hemodialysis as blood does not leave your body. Instead, it involves the use of a dialysate solution to get rid of toxins from your blood. During the procedure, the catheter is placed through your abdomen into the peritoneum. Your specialist may administer local anesthesia before placing the PD catheter.

For further inquiries about AV graft and Peritoneal dialysis, reserve a session with your vascular specialist at Heart Vascular and Leg Center.