Hemodialysis is a treatment used when your kidneys fail (Stage 5 Kidney Disease) and can no longer clean your blood and remove extra fluid from your body. A hemodialysis access or vascular access is a way to reach your blood for hemodialysis.
If you receive hemodialysis, your access is one of the following:
- An AV fistula made by joining an artery and vein in your arm
- An AV graft made by using a soft tube to join an artery and vein in your arm
- A catheter, a soft tube that is placed in a large vein, usually in your neck
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) recommends the AV (arteriovenous) fistula as the preferred choice for a permanent vascular access. The AV graft is the next preferred choice for a permanent access. The catheter is recommended for temporary access. There may be conditions that prevent you from having a fistula or graft and a catheter may be used.