An access is needed for you to get hemodialysis. The access is where you receive hemodialysis. Using the access, blood is removed from your body, cleaned by the dialyzer, and then returned to your body.
Usually the access is put in your arm but it can also go in your leg. It takes a few weeks to a few months to get an access ready for hemodialysis.
Kidney failure - chronic - dialysis access; Renal failure - chronic - dialysis access; Chronic renal insufficiency - dialysis access; Chronic kidney failure - dialysis access; Chronic renal failure - dialysis access
A surgeon will put the access in. There are 3 types of access.
- The surgeon joins an artery and vein under the skin.
- With the artery and vein connected, more blood flows into the vein. This makes the vein strong. Needle insertions into this strong vein are easier for hemodialysis.
- A fistula takes 1 to 4 months to form.
- If you have small veins that cannot develop into a fistula, the surgeon connects an artery and vein with a plastic tube called a graft.
- Needle insertions can be done into the graft for hemodialysis.
- A graft takes 3 to 6 weeks to heal.
Central venous catheter:
- If you need hemodialysis right away and you do not have time to wait for a fistula or graft to work, the surgeon can put in a catheter.
- The catheter is put into a vein in the neck, chest, or upper leg.
- This catheter is temporary. It can be used for dialysis while you wait for a fistula or graft to heal.