Dialysis Access Care

Vascular Access Centers

Vascular Medicine located in Memphis, TN

Dialysis —or the procedure that replaces the role of your failing kidneys — is a life-altering experience that can help you live longer. At Vascular Access Centers of Memphis and East Memphis, our team uses the latest technology and offers several procedures to ensure your dialysis treatment keeps running smoothly. For an expert consultation at Vascular Access Centers of Memphis and East Memphis, call or book your appointment online today.

Dialysis Access Care Q & A

What happens during dialysis?

Under normal circumstances, your kidneys filter waste and extra fluids out of your blood. They also regulate blood levels of minerals like calcium, sodium, and potassium. When your kidneys can’t function due to chronic disease and damage, toxic wastes build up in your blood. That’s when you need dialysis to do the same job as your kidneys.

During hemodialysis, tubes are inserted into your blood vessels and connected to a machine. As blood flows through filters in the machine, waste disappears, and the filtered blood returns to your body.

The second type of dialysis, peritoneal dialysis, flushes your abdomen using a liquid that pulls wastes out of your blood. Wastes are eliminated when the solution drains.

What is dialysis access?

During the late stage of kidney disease, when the kidneys begin to fail, it’s essential to have permanent access to your bloodstream for ongoing and emergency dialysis. The team at the Vascular Access Centers of Memphis and East Memphis create dialysis access with one of the following:

  • Arteriovenous (AV) fistula
  • AV graft
  • A tunneled catheter (for temporary access)
  • Central venous access (for temporary access)
  • An abdominal catheter (for home dialysis)


The AV fistula and AV graft are the methods used to create a permanent dialysis access. With an AV fistula, your vascular specialist connects a vein to an artery directly; for an AV graft, they use a soft plastic tube to bridge the connection.

Connecting a vein to an artery allows your blood to quickly flow out and back into your body at the highest possible volume, which is essential for adequate dialysis.

After a fistula is created, it takes weeks or months before it can be used, but once it matures, it lasts a long time. An AV fistula is considered by many as the best option because grafts tend to close more quickly and they’re more likely to become infected.

What is dialysis access maintenance?

The physicians at the Vascular Access Centers of Memphis and East Memphis partner with you and your nephrology team to maintain your dialysis access and keep you healthy. These are a few examples of the comprehensive services they provide:


When you encounter problems with dialysis access, a fistulagram offers information that helps diagnose the problem.

Peripheral arterial angioplasty

When a vein or artery used for dialysis access becomes narrowed, a peripheral arterial angioplasty is done to widen the vessel and prevent blockage.

Thrombolysis or thrombectomy

Should your access vein or artery become blocked with a blood clot, thrombolysis breaks it down to restore functioning.

You deserve the type of expert dialysis care available at the Vascular Access Centers of Memphis and East Memphis — call the office or book an appointment online today.

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