What Are the Four Types of Dialysis Access?

Mid adult female nurse injecting patient for renal dialysis treatment in hospital room After it’s been determined that you will need treatment for your kidneys, you will need to get dialysis access placed. Dialysis helps perform the functions of the kidneys after they have failed by filtering and purifying the blood and helping you eliminate the waste through your bladder.

There are four possible types of dialysis accesses that any patient may receive placement with, and understanding the difference between each of them can help patients understand their treatment plans.

Three out of the four types of dialysis access are used hemodialysis, which is a process where blood is transported from your body for cleaning. The fourth type is peritoneal dialysis, which uses the abdominal lining and a sterile specialized solution to clean the blood.

We’ll discuss the differences between the four types so you can gain a better understanding of your own treatment plans.

Central Venous Catheter (CVC)

Falling under the hemodialysis category, this type of access is the best temporary treatment option for patients and is not used for long-term plans. A central venous catheter is a long Y-shaped tube that is inserted into your vein. The two Y-end pieces of the tube will remain outside of the body and are opened when connected to the bloodline or closed off when not in use.

This is kind of temporary treatment is necessary for people who need immediate dialysis, but eventually, a more permanent access plan will be put in place by your doctor.

Arteriovenous Fistula

Also apart of the hemodialysis category, Arteriovenous Fistula is one of the most common types of dialysis access patients receive. It is a surgical connection between one of your arteries and one of your veins and requires a minor outpatient procedure to be put in.

AV Fistula is best for people with healthy veins and works well as a long-term treatment plan. This access requires daily maintenance, and you will have to be mindful of it when you do activities or sleep.

Arteriovenous Graft

Alternatively, if your veins are unhealthy, your doctor may recommend that you get an Arteriovenous Graft. This type of access is also placed surgically, but instead of connecting an artery to a vein, the AV Graft will be the connection between the artery and the vein to help facilitate dialysis.

Peritoneal Dialysis Catheter

This treatment differs from the last three because of how it cleans and removes the blood. The Peritoneal Dialysis Catheter is placed through the abdomen to reach your peritoneum. Then, a sterile fluid is pushed through the catheter into your peritoneum to clean the blood. This requires a surgical procedure to put the access in place, and you may need a few days of recovery time afterward.

This type of dialysis access is not right for everyone, so talk to your doctor about options before finding the best one for you.

If you’re interested in learning more about the four types of access dialysis, schedule a consultation with the providers at the Vascular Institute of Virginia at our locations in Fredericksburg or Woodbridge, VA by calling 703-763-5224.

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