Small tubing used to connect an artery and a vein
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our heart or vascular specialists.
Dialysis uses an external machine to clean and filter your blood when you have significant kidney disease. The dialysis machine is connected to your blood vessels using an access such as a fistula or graft.
A graft is created by connecting a vein to an artery using tubing. Grafts are not used as often for dialysis access as fistulas because they don’t last as long and tend to have higher rates of infection. But they may be a good choice if your own blood vessels aren’t strong enough to create a fistula access.
What to expect
Your doctor may ask that you not eat or drink before your procedure. Ask if you should stop taking any medications before your surgery. You will receive a local anesthetic. You may receive a sedative to relax you, but you likely will remain awake during the procedure.
Your doctor will make a small incision in your arm. The graft will be placed to connect an artery and vein. The incision will then be closed and covered with a bandage. You will be taken to a recovery area to be monitored for several hours.
You will likely be able to return home after the procedure, but you will need someone to drive you. You will need to monitor for infection and keep the area clean. The graft can be used for dialysis two to six weeks after placement. Some grafts can be used immediately.
A fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that uses a continuous X-ray beam passed through the body to create real-time, moving images of your internal structures.