The human body comprises two kidneys – organs that filter waste and excess fluids from your blood, excreted in the urine. Problems in one or both of your kidneys can affect the filtering capability of these organs, resulting in the build-up of fluid, waste, and electrolyte in your body. This may be due to different medical conditions, including high blood pressure, type 1or two diabetes, and polycystic kidney disease. Over time, the kidneys may gradually lose function and advance to a condition called end-stage renal disease. Here, the kidneys cannot work to support normal body functions. Fortunately, through San Antonio dialysis access management, patients with end-stage kidney disease can get help.
What Is Dialysis Access Management?
Dialysis access management is a procedure used to treat patients with chronic kidney failure, which involves creating vascular access and drawing blood from a patient’s body to a dialysis machine where filtering takes place. The blood free of toxins and excess fluid flows back to a patient’s body through the access. Your specialist may recommend different types of dialysis, including hemodialysis – the most common type and peritoneal dialysis.
Types of Dialysis Access
To create an opening for vascular access, your doctor uses one of the following accesses:
- Arteriovenous fistula (AV)- This is the most common type of access used due to its safety and effectiveness. Here, the doctor connects an artery and vein, usually in the left arm for right-handed people and vice-versa.
- AV graft- Instead of directly linking the artery and vein, a flexible, synthetic tube (graft) creates a path. Your doctor may use an AV graft when your veins are too small to form an AV fistula.
- Central venous catheter- This is temporary hemodialysis used in an emergency and is inserted into a superficial vein in the neck.
Ensuring the access site is clean reduces your chances of developing an infection and other complications. Your doctor may give you several guidelines on how to care for your access site.
What to Expect During Hemodialysis
In preparation for treatment, your specialist checks your blood pressure, weight, pulse, and temperature before cleaning the skin covering your access site. While this happens, you may be reclining in a chair as you watch a movie, TV, read, or take a nap.
- Next, the doctor inserts two needles connected to a dialyzer into your arm and taps them in place. The dialyzer eliminates waste through one tube, and the clean blood returns to your body through the other tube.
- As the process goes on, you may experience abdominal cramps and nausea, especially if you have recently had an increase in fluid volumes. If the cramping is severe and makes you uncomfortable, inform your doctor about reducing the side effects by adjusting your medication, speed of hemodialysis, and fluids.
- After treatment is complete, the doctor removes the needles and dresses the site to prevent bleeding. Most patients can go about daily activities after treatment.
To learn more about dialysis access management, consult with your doctor at I-Vascular Center.