Those whose kidneys cannot filter out wastes from their blood must rely on hemodialysis. Before dialysis can begin, specialists must create an “access” to easily reach large volumes of blood. The Blank Vascular Center works with the Nephrology Department at Abington Memorial Hospital, as well as with outpatient hemodialysis units, to coordinate the care of patients who need dialysis.
Blank Vascular Center doctors perform several different types of hemodialysis access, usually in the arm. All of these methods require a short procedure stay at Abington Memorial Hospital:
- Fistula – This access is made by connecting an artery to a nearby vein. A fistula procedure has to be performed weeks or months before it is needed to help ensure a properly enlarged vein.
- Graft – When a fistula is not possible, this access attaches a man-made tube between an artery and a vein. Grafts can be ready for dialysis in a few weeks.
- Central vein access – If fistulas or grafts are not appropriate, a catheter tube may be inserted into a neck vein to provide access to the bloodstream.
For expertise on hemodialysis access, contact the specialists at Abington’s Pilla Heart Center and Blank Vascular Center.