Prior to commencing hemodialysis treatment, an individual requires a means of accessing their bloodstream, known as a “vascular access.” This access enables the patient’s blood to flow to and from the dialysis machine at a significant volume and high velocity, facilitating the removal of toxins, waste products, and excess fluids from the body.
Three distinct types of vascular access exist for hemodialysis: arteriovenous (AV) fistula, AV graft, and central venous catheter. Each of these accesses is established through surgical procedures. There are only a limited number of locations on the body where a vascular access can be positioned, including the arms, legs, neck, or chest. Both the fistula and graft are considered permanent access options as they are placed beneath the skin with the intention of using them for an extended period, often spanning many years.
Access Additional Resources