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According to the National Kidney Foundation, 37 million Americans have Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and millions of others are at increased risk. CKD means the kidneys have been damaged by diabetes, high blood pressure or other disorders. Damage to your kidneys can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.

Dialysis Access

Kidneys work to filter blood of waste products and excess fluids. Kidney failure may occur due to a variety of medical conditions, making hemodialysis treatment a necessary and ongoing replacement. The process of hemodialysis requires access to the circulatory system, so that blood can be directed to the external dialysis machine for filtering and then returned to the body. A permanent portal is created to allow dialysis access into the bloodstream during treatment. A nephrologist will typically direct two to three dialysis treatments per week.

Treatment Options

Dialysis access involves outpatient surgery to build an entryway under the skin in either an arm or a leg for dialysis treatment. Our vascular specialists have extensive experience and expertise performing dialysis access procedures, including:

  • Fistula Placement Surgery— This procedure involves connecting a vein to an artery, usually in the arm. This results in the creation of a large blood vessel that allows for optimal blood flow.
  • Graft Placement Surgery— For patients with blocked or small veins, a graft can be a good alternative to a fistula. This procedure involves inserting a soft pliable synthetic tube to join an artery to a vein.
  • Alternative Access— Our specialists also have experience with alternative access solutions, such as HeRO (hemodialysis reliable outflow) grafts and leg grafts. We are actively evaluating new, minimally invasive access procedures, including percutaneous fistula creation that may offer improved healing time and less scarring.

During a comprehensive evaluation, one of our experienced board-certified vascular surgeons will ask about your medical history and conduct a physical exam to determine the correct access procedure for you.  Our surgical team works closely with your dialysis care team and handles the coordination of all aspects of the dialysis access procedure, including scheduling and pre- and post-procedure care.

For more information or to schedule an evaluation or procedures, please call 847-618-3800.

Nephrology Treatment Locations
NCH Hospital and Emergency Department
NCH Hospital and Emergency Department

800 W. Central Road

Arlington Heights, IL 60005


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