Acces to your blood stream is needed so your blood can be cleaned of the excess water and waste products. A vascular access is made during surgery to allow this. The surgery is usually done as a day case. It can take up to two months for the access to mature ready for dialysis.
There are three types of vascular access:
- Fistula: Joining one of your arteries to a vein. The vein enlarges and is known as the fistula. It is usually in your lower or upper arm and occasionally in your leg
- Graft: Use of a piece of tubing attached between one of your arteries and a vein
- Catheter: A catheter is usually a temporary tube put into a large vein until a fistula or graft is ready to use
You will need to take care of your access. Careful hygiene will help to prevent infection. You will be shown how to check your fistula or graft every day.