Top Tips to Help You Prepare for Your Dialysis Procedure 

Blog Post
By South Valley Vascular
December 17, 2021

When your urologist or GP starts to discuss your kidney failure and recommends dialysis, you need to know your options. Our experts at South Valley Vascular want to share this information with you and help you be a well-informed patient.

This brochure from the National Kidney Foundation is full of information about dialysis procedures and care. Before you actually get into the routine of dialysis, you will need to think about an access point. The surgeons at  South Valley Vascular can help you get that dialysis procedure done so you can make your dialysis as simple as possible.

When Should I Start Dialysis?

The decision of when to start dialysis is never easy. It is a huge time commitment: 12 or more hours a week, every week, usually spent at a dialysis center. Many experts recommend starting dialysis before you have any complications from kidney failure. Many of the complications, such as not getting good nutrition, retaining too much fluid, or having too much waste build up in your body, can be deadly.

Dialysis can help you feel better before you start to experience negative symptoms. It may improve your ability to get good nutrition and reduce your chances of going into the hospital from complications of kidney failure. It may also lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.

Even if you don't start dialysis, you may want to plan for dialysis if your kidney function is getting worse. You could have surgery months ahead of time to create an access point where the blood can leave your body, enter the dialysis machine, then return to you.

What Kinds of Access Points Are Available?

The surgeons at South Valley Vascular can surgically create an arteriovenous fistula for the access point in one of two ways:

  1. The Venous Catheter is a temporary catheter implanted in the neck, chest, or groin that allows a conduit for the dialysis machine to hook to. Usually, this is only used for a month or so until an Artery-Vein Fistula (see below) can mature. You have to keep the catheter dry during showers and watch for any bleeding or possible infection. This access may not provide enough blood flow needed for the dialysis to be effective. It is prone to blood clots and damage to major veins.
  1. An Artery-Vein Fistula is created by joining a vein with a nearby artery. The fistula does require a minor surgical procedure and needs two to four months to mature. This access point is usually good for years and does not require ongoing maintenance like the catheter. It is much less likely to develop blood clots or become blocked.

Who Should Not Have an Access Point?

People with the following conditions should not get an access point:

  • People with swelling, nausea, or other symptoms of kidney failure
  • People over the age of 75 
  • People who lack the energy or do not feel well enough for dialysis
  • People who are unwilling to make lifestyle changes and the required time commitment, as dialysis can take 12 hrs a week 

As you consider your options for dialysis procedures, keep our surgeons in mind to aid you with your access point. We would be glad to discuss the possibilities and help customize a treatment plan for you. Contact us at 1-559-625-4118 or South Valley Vascular.