What is vascular access?


It's a way for doctors and nurses to access a patient's blood vessels to remove and return blood, or to give medications or intravenous fluids. In your case, the vascular access will be used to remove, clean and return blood, which is known as hemodialysis.


If a person's kidneys fail, they no longer filter out waste products from the blood; hemodialysis will remove these wastes. For all the blood to be cleaned during a treatment, it is rapidly and continuously filtered through the hemodialysis machine. Only a small amount of blood (about 1 cup) is outside the body at a time, and then only for 30 to 60 seconds.


Vascular Access allows medical staff to:

  • Remove, clean and return blood-also known as hemodialysis

  • Give medications

  • Give intravenous fluids

What kinds of vascular access are used for hemodialysis?


There are three different types of vacular access.


The one you have will depend on how soon you need hemodialysis, and how long you'll need it. This guide focuses primarily on catheters.


There are three types: