Creating a Hemodialysis Access

Creating a Hemodialysis Access

Before hemodialysis can be done, an access (way for blood to leave and return to your body) is needed. A hemodialysis access is usually created in your arm.

Technician and patient

Cutaway view of vein

Creating Your Access

The hemodialysis access provides a large volume of rapidly flowing blood. It is made during a short procedure using one of these methods:

  • A fistula is made by connecting an artery to a nearby vein. Blood flows rapidly into the vein, making it larger. It may need weeks or months to develop before its ready.

  • A graft (piece of manmade tube) may be sewn between an artery and a vein if a fistula is not available. Blood flows rapidly through the graft from the artery to the vein. A graft is usually ready to use in a few weeks.