Vascular Access for Hemodialysis – Choosing the Right Components for Your Device

Vascular Access for Hemodialysis  

Hemodialysis is the most common method of treating kidney failure and end-stage kidney disease. It is a complex therapy that requires coordination between multiple healthcare professionals as well as, often, considerable patient input. Vascular access is essential for hemodialysis, with multiple options available, including hemodialysis catheters.

In this blog, we will look at the best approach for choosing the right components for your hemodialysis catheter device. First, though, it’s important to review the various methods of vascular access that are available to patients.

Preferred Methods of Vascular Access for Hemodialysis

There are three main methods of vascular access for hemodialysis:

  • Arteriovenous fistula
  • AV graft
  • Central venous catheter

Arteriovenous Fistula

An arteriovenous fistula is the preferred method of vascular access for hemodialysis as it makes the regular dialysis process more efficient. There is less of a chance for vessels to become damaged over time, and there is a lower risk of infection. There is also less of an impact on the daily life of patients, as they can continue to do things like shower and swim with an arteriovenous fistula.

The arteriovenous fistula method of access is created during a surgical procedure that connects an artery and a vein, typically in the patient’s arm. In ideal situations, the result is a large and robust blood vessel that is perfect for the frequent use that is essential for ongoing hemodialysis treatment.

One of the main downsides of this type of vascular access is that it takes about eight weeks (and sometimes longer) for the arteriovenous fistula to be ready for hemodialysis after the initial surgery is completed.

AV Graft

The AV graft approach is the preferred option if an arteriovenous fistula fails or isn’t possible because the veins in the patient’s arms are too small. An AV graft can also be used when a patient’s veins are blocked or damaged, preventing the use of an arteriovenous fistula. While an AV graft is not a guaranteed option in these situations, it is typically explored as the second most preferred method of access.

An AV graft involves a surgical procedure that uses a synthetic tube to connect an artery with a vein in the patient’s arm.

Central Venous Catheter

The third main vascular access option for hemodialysis is a central venous catheter or hemodialysis catheter. A hemodialysis catheter can be inserted into the chest, groin, or neck, and is used in situations where an arteriovenous fistula or AV graft is not a viable option or is not yet ready to use. As a result, hemodialysis catheters are often used in the most acute emergency situations.

Vascular Access with a Hemodialysis Catheter

A lot of focus when considering hemodialysis catheters is on the catheter device itself, as the catheter will remain in the patient for a period of time and must be well cared for to ensure the best possible patient outcome. The design of the catheter also impacts the efficiency and effectiveness of the dialysis procedure.

However, the role of the access device components of hemodialysis catheters should not be underestimated. This is especially important given the clinical conditions under which they are often used. Those clinical conditions include urgent clinical care situations where there is no time to set up an arteriovenous fistula or AV graft. In these situations, an alternative method of access is typically the only option for treating kidney failure.

Hemodialysis catheters are also often required when an arteriovenous fistula or AV graft has been set up but is not yet ready to use, so a temporary method of access is required. Hemodialysis catheters are also used when the blood vessels of the patient are not suitable for an arteriovenous fistula or AV graft. With an arteriovenous fistula, veins can also narrow or become blocked over time.

Given all the patient circumstances and clinical situations described above, it’s important to include the highest quality access device components as possible in your hemodialysis catheter product. This includes needles, guidewires, dilators, and valved tearaway introducers (or sheaths).

Galt’s Vascular Access Components for Hemodialysis Catheters

At Galt, we supply a range of vascular access components that will enhance your hemodialysis catheter device. Our product range includes valved tearaway introducers, guidewires, and more. View our product catalog or get in touch with a member of our team today to find out more.