Hemodialysis Access for Chronic Renal Failure

The experts at The University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City perform procedures to provide vascular access for dialysis. Access is typically placed several weeks or months prior to a patient starting dialysis to manage chronic kidney failure. There are 3 types of dialysis access:

  • AV fistula
  • AV graft
  • Venous catheter

When meeting with the vascular surgeon, a vein mapping is typically performed 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 based on 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 while permanent access is developed.

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

Learn about dialysis shunt (graft) catheters.