Establishing a Vascular Access for Dialysis

Dialysis and kidney transplantation are two lifesaving methods for treating kidney failure. The most common form of dialysis is hemodialysis. During this process, blood from an artery in the arm flows through a thin plastic tube to a machine called a dialyzer, which acts as an artificial kidney, filtering the blood and then returning it through another tube in a nearby vein in the same arm.

Before one can begin hemodialysis, a route for removing blood from the body (a few ounces at a time) and then returning it must be established by creating a vascular access site. The following are the three kinds of vascular access sites: