What is vascular access?
Vascular access makes life-saving dialysis treatments possible. To get blood into the kidney, the doctor needs to access your blood vessels. Vascular access provides reliable sites where the bloodstream can be easily accessed.
How is vascular access performed?
There are several types of vascular access performed through minor surgery to your arm or leg. For example, the surgeon might place a passageway (called a fistula or graft) into the upper arm. The fistula or graft creates extra pressure that causes the vein to grow bigger and stronger and provide easier, more reliable access to blood vessels.
When is vascular access needed?
Vascular access is often used for hemodialysis patients who need strong veins that are more resilient to repeated needle insertions from regular treatments. Vascular access procedures typically need to be performed well before beginning dialysis, as fistula- and graft-treated veins require time to mature before they’re ready for use.