Dialysis Access Procedures FAQ

What is a dialysis access?

Your dialysis access or vascular access makes dialysis possible by providing an entrance to your bloodstream. The access allows the blood to be removed, cleaned, and returned to your circulatory system during dialysis.

What happens if my access is no longer functioning well?

You may receive a non-surgical procedure to correct the problem and improve your access.

What is the most common problem with a fistula or graft?

Narrowing or stenosis of your blood vessel, resulting in insufficient flow. Clotting can also cause decreased flow— if you don’t feel a thrill (vibration), your access may be clotted.

What causes the narrowing of a blood vessel?

There can be several causes such as scarring where the artery and vein are sewn together in a fistula or scars from blood draws.

How can a procedure help?

The corrective procedure will widen the affected blood vessel and correct flow issues or remove clots. Typically the procedure takes about 45-60 minutes.

Why is it important to rotate my needle sites?

Typically, repeated insertion of a needle into the same place can weaken the wall of the vein  and possibly result in an aneurysm (a bulging in the vein wall).