Vascular Access Management Specialist

San Antonio Kidney Disease Center Physicians Group, P.L.L.C. -  - Nephrologist

San Antonio Kidney Disease Center Physicians Group, P.L.L.C.

Nephrologists located in numerous locations in San Antonio, TX, and surrounding Counties

When you’re on dialysis, vascular access is important for good flow of blood for adequate cleaning of waste products. The experienced team at San Antonio Kidney Disease Center Physicians Group, P.L.L.C. has been taking care of dialysis patients since 1978 and not only places vascular access at their state-of-the-art facilities but offers ongoing management. If you live in or near San Antonio, make an appointment by phone.

Vascular Access Management Q & A

What is vascular access?

Vascular access refers to the opening that’s created in your arm that allows for the flow of blood in and out of your body when you’re on hemodialysis. Your blood flows through a special machine that acts like your kidneys to help clear your blood of waste and fluid.

In order to be able to take your blood and put it back, the vascular access must be connected to a vein and an artery.

What are the types of vascular access?

There are three types of vascular access:

  • Graft: a U-shaped plastic tube is placed under your skin to connect the vein and artery for treatment
  • Fistula: an artery and a vein are sewn together to allow easy access and placement of the needle for dialysis
  • Central venous catheter: a plastic tube is placed under your skin and attached to a vein in your neck, groin, or chest

The central venous catheter can be used right away. However, the team at San Antonio Kidney Disease Center Physicians Group only recommend the central venous catheter for short-term use.

Both the graft and fistula require time to heal. After placement of these types of vascular access, the team goes over how to take care of them while they heal. This might include how often to change your bandage and how to shower.

Once your vascular access has healed, the team starts using it for your hemodialysis.

How do I take care of my vascular access?

Due to the nature of vascular access, it’s important that you take measures to keep it clean to prevent infection.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before touching your vascular access
  • Clean your access with an alcohol swab before you start dialysis
  • Don’t sleep on the arm with your access
  • Don’t wear jewelry or tight clothing on your access arm
  • Don’t carry more than 10 pounds with your access arm

The team at San Antonio Kidney Disease Center teaches you how to check your vascular access pulse, which is called a thrill.

What should I watch for with my vascular access?

You should call the team at San Antonio Kidney Disease Center if:

  • Your vascular access is red, swollen, or warm
  • You have a fever of 100.3° F or greater
  • Your vascular access pulse slows down
  • Your hand on the side of your vascular access feels cold, numb, or weak

If you need help managing your vascular access, book an appointment by phone.