When you need hemodialysis, you also need arteriovenous (AV) access to accommodate blood flow between your body and the hemodialyzer. At Nelson Menezes Vascular Specialist PC in Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene, Brooklyn, you can count on personalized care throughout your hemodialysis. Dr. Menezes creates your AV access and provides the ongoing maintenance needed to ensure your access stays healthy and clear. To schedule an appointment, call your nearest New York City office or schedule an appointment online.
Hemodialysis is the life-saving treatment needed by patients with kidney failure due to chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD begins when an underlying disease, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, damages the kidneys.
The kidney disease gets progressively worse over the years until your kidneys fail. Dialysis takes over when your kidneys can’t continue removing toxic wastes and excess fluids from your blood.
During hemodialysis, two needles are inserted into your arm. Blood leaves your body through one needle and flows through a tube into the dialysis machine. The machine filters your blood, then sends it back to your body through a tube connected to the second needle.
AV access lets a large amount of blood flow in and out of your body. As a result, more blood can be filtered during one dialysis session than would be possible by inserting needles into your normal blood vessels.
When Dr. Menezes creates AV access, he performs minor surgery to connect an artery to a vein. As a result, the vein grows wider and thicker, making it easier to insert needles and increasing blood flow through the hemodialysis machine.
There are two types of AV access:
A fistula is created by directly connecting the two blood vessels. An AV fistula is preferred to the second type, an AV graft, because it delivers the highest blood flow, lasts longer, and is less likely to become infected or blocked by a blood clot.
When performing an AV graft, Dr. Menezes uses a soft plastic tube to connect the artery and vein. Since a graft is more likely to develop an infection or blood clot, it’s only done if a problem with your veins prevents him from creating an AV fistula.
Dr. Menezes provides ongoing care for your AV access to ensure it stays healthy and clear. When needed, he may perform a fistulagram, an X-ray that shows blood clots, or a thrombectomy to remove clots that develop.
You’ll also learn about the daily care you’ll need to perform to help prevent infections. For example, Dr. Menezes may ask you to wash the AV access site with antibacterial soap and to regularly check for redness or the start of a pimple around the access.
If you need AV access, schedule an appointment online or call Nelson Menezes Vascular Specialist PC.