Dialysis Access Management – All You Need To Know

Renal failure is a condition in which the patient’s kidneys cannot filter the blood. In renal failure, the blood needs to be filtered using a dialysis machine and an artificial kidney( special filter).

Patients with renal failure need dialysis three times a week. A single session of dialysis lasts four hours on average. Dialysis can be done using two methods, peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis. 

Before starting the dialysis procedure, doctors at San Antonio dialysis access management look for an entrance into the bloodstream. The access or entrance can be made into the arm, neck, or groin. There are many ways to access the bloodstream and start cleaning the blood. These methods have been mentioned below:

  1. Dialysis fistulas: A dialysis fistula connects an artery directly to a vein. Later, two needles are inserted into the arteriovenous fistula. One needle transfers the contaminated blood to the machine for dialysis, while the second needle transfers the filtered blood back to the body. This procedure is more efficient than dialysis catheters, as the blood flows at an incredible speed. This speed allows more blood to be filtered.
  1. Dialysis grafts: In a dialysis graft, an artery is connected to the vein using a tube. While the tube heals, the patient needs a dialysis catheter. Once the graft is ready, two needles are used for the dialysis in the same way as a dialysis fistula. Dialysis grafts have lower infection rates. 
  1. Dialysis catheters: a dialysis catheter consists of two tubes, one of which is used to get the contaminated blood out of the body, and the other is used to return the clean blood to the body. Dialysis catheters have high chances of infection and are used only when dialysis grafts or fistulas are impossible. 

Mentioned above are a few methods to access the bloodstream. Doctors also use fistulograms and unclotting procedures. These help in the case where a vessel is clotted. 

What not to do before dialysis: 

Before the procedure, the doctor informs the patient about what has to be done and what has to be avoided. Following a doctor’s advice can reduce the chances of complications during the procedure. These include: 

  1. It is advised not to consume any kind of solid or liquid meals for eight hours before the procedure. Even if the patient wants to eat, they can consume high starch and sugar meals 2-3 hours before the process, as these food products leave the stomach early. 
  1. Take medications with minimum use of water.
  1. Avoid food rich in potassium.

If you are on dialysis, take special care of what you eat or drink as even a minor mistake can lead to several complications.