New Jersey Dialysis Access Interventions

What is Dialysis?

Dialysis, also called hemodialysis, is the most common treatment for kidney failure. A dialysis machine is an artificial kidney designed to remove impurities from your blood. Your nephrologist may recommend a dialysis access procedure.

Types of Dialysis Access Procedures

Creating the access portal is a minor surgical procedure. There are three types of portals:

  • Fistula - which your vascular surgeon constructs by joining an artery to a vein
  • Graft - which is a man-made tube that your vascular surgeon inserts to connect an artery to a vein
  • Percutaneous Fistula 

Fistulas are typically preferred to grafts because fistulas are constructed using your own tissue, which is more durable and resistant to infection than are grafts. However, if your vein is blocked or too small to use, the graft provides a good alternative.

For both fistulas, grafts the connection between your artery and vein increases blood flow through the vein. In response, your vein stretches and becomes strengthened. This allows an even greater amount of blood to pass through the vein and allows your dialysis to proceed efficiently.

In the weeks after your access procedure, the fistula begins to mature. The vein increases in size and may look like a cord under your skin. The whole process typically takes 3 to 6 months. Some fistulas may take as long as a year or more to develop fully, but this is unusual.

Once matured, a fistula should be large and strong enough for dialysis technicians and nurses to insert the large dialysis needles easily. If it fails to mature in a reasonable period of time, you may need another fistula.

If you had a graft instead, you can usually begin using your graft in 2 to 6 weeks, when it is healed sufficiently.

Contact us at (877) 595-9512 to learn more about our dialysis access procedures in New Jersey. 

About Dialysis Access Procedures

Fistula Dialysis Access Procedure

A fistula dialysis access procedure involves surgically connecting an artery and vein in the arm to create a fistula, a natural access point for hemodialysis. This surgical intervention ensures a reliable and efficient pathway for dialysis, allowing the removal and return of blood during treatment. Fistula dialysis access is preferred for its longevity and lower risk of infection compared to other access methods, contributing to more effective and sustained hemodialysis treatments for individuals with kidney failure.

Graft Dialysis Access Procedure

A graft dialysis access procedure involves surgically connecting an artery and vein using a synthetic tube, creating a vascular access point for hemodialysis. This artificial graft provides a durable pathway for blood removal and return during dialysis treatments. Grafts are suitable alternatives when a natural fistula isn't viable. While slightly more prone to complications than fistulas, grafts offer reliable and efficient access for hemodialysis, improving the quality of life for individuals with kidney failure.

Percutaneous Fistula Dialysis Access Procedure

The percutaneous fistula dialysis access procedure is a minimally invasive technique where a catheter is inserted through the skin directly into a blood vessel, creating an access point for hemodialysis. This approach eliminates the need for traditional surgery and offers a quicker recovery. While not suitable for all patients, percutaneous fistula procedures provide an alternative for those who may face challenges with conventional surgical interventions, enhancing accessibility to essential dialysis treatments for individuals with kidney failure. 

Treatment Options for Dialysis Line Blockages

Fistulagram / Graftogram / Declot

A long, thin plastic tube called a catheter will be inserted into your access, into which we will inject contrast dye so we can better visualize any problems. The area where the dye is infused may briefly feel warm or flushed. We will take x-rays of the affected area and if needed the fistula/graft will undergo angioplasty so that the vascular access can be maintained. After the procedure, you will go to the recovery unit, where you may stay for an hour or more. There, you will relax and lay quietly with a straight arm. When you are ready to go home, be sure that you do not do anything strenuous with your arm for the rest of the day, such as vacuuming or lifting things.

To find out how we can help you, call our multidisciplinary team of vascular surgeons and vascular interventional radiologists at (877) 595-9512. We have highly specialized skills to provide you with insight into your dialysis access.

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