Dialysis performs the work of failing kidneys: removing wastes and extra fluid from your blood. During dialysis, blood flows from your body to the dialysis machine and back into your body after filtering, entering and exiting through surgically created dialysis access.
There are 3 main options for dialysis access:
• Directly connecting an artery and a vein creates an arteriovenous (AV) fistula. This is the preferred access due to longevity and low infection ratio.
• Arteriovenous (AV) graft surgery involves connecting a vein to an artery with an artificial tube or graft. The graft is usually made of synthetic material, and is generally ready for use sooner than many AV fistulas. (Your arm is the usual location for an AV fistula or graft, but a thigh can also be used.)
• A venous catheter is usually used for short-term dialysis, or as a bridge until your AV fistula/graft is mature. These are generally placed in the neck or chest.
Peritoneal dialysis can be performed at home, and requires a small, surgically implanted tube called a catheter. Through the catheter, dialyzing solution is introduced into your abdomen. The solution draws wastes and extra water out of your blood through the small vessels in your abdomen. The solution, wastes, and extra body water are then drained away. This option may be recommended by your kidney specialist.