A dialysis access is a site on a person's body created so that blood or other fluids can be removed, filtered, and returned to the body during dialysis. Dialysis is a process that performs the work of healthy kidneys for people who have kidney failure.
Before dialysis can begin, the doctor has to create a dialysis access. For hemodialysis, the access is the place where the dialysis needles are inserted to send the blood to and from the dialysis machine. In peritoneal dialysis, the access is the place where a catheter is connected so fluid can flow into and out of the belly.
Depending on the type of dialysis, the doctor may:
Usually, the doctor has to prepare the dialysis access weeks to months before it is needed. This gives the access time to heal. If a person needs emergency dialysis, the doctor may create a temporary access by inserting a catheter into a vein in the neck, upper chest, or groin.
Last Revised: September 15, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Mitchell H. Rosner, MD - Nephrology
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