Uniquely Offered by Skilled Vascular Surgeons
Hemodialysis may be required when the kidneys struggle to rid the body of toxins. To prepare for this process, it is necessary to create access to the renal artery to remove the blood so that it may be filtered outside the human body. There are three primary approaches to hemodialysis access available at Pima Heart and Vascular and our highly skilled vascular surgeons will identify the treatment that will work best for your symptoms.
The arteriovenous fistula requires some time to mature and become functional for hemodialysis, sometimes as long as two years. This basically involves a procedure of attaching the vein to an artery, forcing it to work and become stronger over time. The advantages of this approach include less incidence of infection and clotting issues, as well as it being a minimally invasive outpatient procedure.
An alternative to a fistula may be arteriovenous grafting, which typically can be used for dialysis within six weeks. This involves a similar process of connecting the artery to the vein for building strength, however, the grafting method utilizes a tube to make this connection. Since the tube does not require time to grow and mature, the process is useful for more imminent hemodialysis patients.
For short-term access, a venous catheter might be used. This is when your surgeon makes an incision in the neck, groin or other area of the body to insert a tube. The tube provides a portal for blood to be carried from the body to be filtered, before being guided back into the body.
A venous catheter is an approach that works well when treatment must begin quickly, as it takes less time to prepare and administer than the fistula or grafting methods. This provides a route when surgical procedures are delayed or while the fistula or graft has time to take-hold. A catheter is typically only used for less than three weeks, although there are some occasions when a surgeon will insert a catheter for longer-term needs. These catheters are buried under the skin as opposed to inserted directly into the vein and patients report fewer issues with clotting and increased comfort with these types of catheters.
The team at Pima Heart and Vascular combines surgical expertise with state-of-the-art technology to create new and innovative strategies for treatment and recovery for their patients. Ask your primary physician to refer you to vascular surgeons that seek out minimally invasive approaches and rapid recovery times when living with venous diseases and conditions.