Dialysis Access

When you are living with kidney disease, you will require ongoing dialysis therapy to clean and filter your blood, until you have a successful kidney transplant.

To avoid the continual irritation and discomfort of needle pricks, Dialysis Access is an access device, which is recommended for patients receiving dialysis.

Download this Central Venous Access Patient Information as a PDF Fact Sheet.


When Is This Procedure Conducted?

If your kidneys fail and your kidney falls below a certain threshold, it is hard for your body to clean and filter your blood. If you will require ongoing dialysis in the future, dialysis access is recommended.

Venous access ports are commonly used in the care of patients with chronic liver disease, particularly cancer patients, and are considered an integral part of cancer therapy. The port provides reliable access for taking blood, blood transfusions and administering nutrition, fluids and medication with minimal disruption to your lifestyle.

Once, surgery was required to insert these tubes, but today these procedures can be performed by an interventional radiologist, without the need for surgery.


How Does This Procedure Work?

The procedure for implanting a venous access catheter is performed on an out-patient basis, under fluoroscopic guidance. In most cases, the port is inserted into the patient’s upper chest or arm. The interventional radiologist will access the vein under ultrasound guidance using a thin needle. The right internal jugular vein, which collects blood from your brain, face and neck, is the preferred vein for this as the risk of blood clots and pneumothorax (collection of air or gas in the space between the lung and the chest wall) is lower.

Once the interventional radiologist has accessed the vein, they will use a guidewire to introduce a sheath and create a small pocket under the skin in the chest area. The catheter is then tunnelled to the vein and the port is connected to the catheter and placed in the pocket. Most physicians prefer to wait a week before starting to use the port. The wall of the port can be used for approximately 2000 punctures.


How Will I Feel After The Procedure?

You may feel a slight coolness in the affected arm or leg. This results because some of the blood that was being supplied to the hand or leg is being redirected. Squeezing an old tennis ball can help your body readjust.

The vein will enlarge and it should be easy to feel a vibration. You should avoid sleeping on the affected arm or leg as well as any constrictive clothing over the site.

Regularly check the access site for redness or if it becomes warm. A healing period is recommended before your first dialysis treatment.


How Successful Is Dialysis Access?

As the venous access port is implanted under image guidance, the procedure is highly successful.

Dialysis Access is ideal for patients in need of long-term yet intermittent intravenous access. However, it is the ongoing care of the access point, which may present complications.

Venous catheters may cause infection and clotting problems. If these problems develop, medication may help. Antibiotics are medications that fight bacteria that can cause infection. Blood thinners such as warfarin keep blood from clotting. If these treatments fail, the catheter may need to be replaced.


Summary of Benefits of Dialysis Access

  • Ideal for patients in need of long term, yet intermittent intravenous access
  • Avoids the continual irritation and discomfort of repetitive needle pricks
  • A venous access port has a lower risk of being dislodged than a catheter in the arm or hand
  • The port also requires fewer injections of heparin and fewer dressing changes
  • Because it is beneath the skin, it has an aesthetic advantage as well as a decreased risk of infection.

We understand that you may have questions and concerns relating to Dialysis Access. Our supportive team is available to answer any concerns or questions you may have relating to this procedure.

Please Contact Us for more information.