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Dialysis is a lifesaving treatment when you have kidney failure. To keep up a regular dialysis schedule, you need a sturdy dialysis access where blood can flow in and out of the body. It must have a good, steady blood flow.
Any type of dialysis access has some risk of failure. So it's important to always protect your access and be alert for signs of clotting or infection.
If your dialysis access fails, it will be repaired or replaced. You and your doctor will choose your next best option for dialysis access.
There are two permanent access types:
If you need to start dialysis right away, your doctor may place a tube in a vein in your neck, chest, or leg. This is called a central venous catheter. You can use it while your permanent access heals.
Some people and their doctors decide to use a catheter as a long-term dialysis access. But catheters have more infection and clotting problems than fistulas or grafts, so they're not the best choice for long-term use.
Every day, check your access to be sure it's in good condition. Pay attention to how you feel. Call your doctor or dialysis team right away if you have any signs of infection or a blood clot, swelling, or unusual skin color.
When a dialysis access fails, your doctor needs to quickly repair or replace it so you can keep up with your dialysis sessions.
For fistula or graft surgery, you will be asleep or get medicine to feel relaxed.
If your access is repaired or you get a fistula, you will probably go home the same day as the surgery. If you get a graft, you may spend 1 night at the hospital. You will probably need to take 1 or 2 days off from work.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Mitchell H. Rosner, MD - Nephrology|
|Last Revised||October 22, 2012|
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