Hemodialysis Access for Chronic Renal Failure

Vascular access for dialysis is typically placed several weeks or months prior to a patient starting dialysis. There are three types of dialysis access:
  • AV fistula
  • AV graft
  • Venous catheter
When meeting with the vascular surgeon a vein mapping is typically done the same day as the office appointment. A vein mapping is a detailed ultrasound of both arms measuring the veins and arteries of the patient. This information helps the surgeon determine which access is best for the patient, the placement of the access and anatomy of the patient. Once the physician and patient have determined what is the best plan of care, surgery is typically scheduled.

In an AV fistula an artery is tied into the vein. This type of access takes longer to develop, making the vein stronger and larger.

In an AV graft an artificial vein is implanted. This access does not need to develop and can be accessed quickly.

A venous catheter is a temporary dialysis access placed in the subclavian vein. These are for patients who need quick access and the permanent access has not developed yet.

Your vascular surgeon and nephrologist will work together to form the best plan of care for you.

Learn about dialysis shunt (graft) catheters.

Learn more about Kidney Disease:
National Kidney Foundation