May 2, 2022

AHD Kidney Care & Dialysis Expo 2022: Dr. Carl Illig

Dr. Carl Illig from Flow Vascular Institute spoke with attendees about the importance of good dialysis access for patients. Listen here…


Hemodialysis Access



Dialysis is the procedure that detoxifies the blood when renal function is compromised.

This process involves the introduction of dialysis access to the patient’s vessels to allow the blood to go through the dialysis machine where it will be detoxified, and then redirected to the systemic vasculature again.

There are several indications to perform dialysis, including acute kidney injury (AKI), uncontrollable hyperkalemia (high serum potassium), and severe fluid overload.


Vascular surgeons have multiple sites to choose dialysis access:

A fistula – this access is the result of linking an artery to a vein, which takes up to 3 months to be ready.

A graft – arteriovenous graft works by connecting an artery and a vein in the arm using a soft tube.

A catheter – this route is preferred in emergency situations, where a central venous catheter (CVC) is inserted into the circulation.


Caring for you dialysis access depends on the type of access you received; however, they all share somethings in common:

  • Make sure to look for any signs of infection.

  • Listen to the vibration and thrill of blood flow.

  • Daily inspection of the access to find out if anything has changed.


Before the invention of hemodialysis, patients had no hope of surviving debilitating conditions, such as acute kidney injury, electrolyte imbalances, and severe fluid retention.

This procedure has helped save millions of lives until they receive a kidney transplant, which is the curative treatment.

Hopefully, this brief introduction to dialysis access helped you appreciate the types of accesses available, as well as the steps to ensure their proper functioning.

If you have any questions about this topic, feel free to email us at

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