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Vascular Access Center

PinnacleHealth is the only health system in Central Pennsylvania that offers a dedicated Vascular Access Center. With one phone call, our staff can schedule a vascular access procedure within two weeks.
More than 20 million Americans have some form of kidney disease.

Kidney disease is one of the leading causes of time lost from work, hospitalization and physician office visits.

What is Kidney Dialysis?

Dialysis is needed when Kidney failure, also called End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), occurs. During Dialysis, blood circulates through a machine that works in place of the kidneys to remove waste, salt and excess water and control blood pressure. For the blood to travel to the dialysis machine, a vascular access point is created through minor surgery.

The access allows blood to travel out of the body through a tube into the dialysis machine.

What is Vascular Access?

There are several types of vascular access that can be used for dialysis treatments:

AV Fistula

An AV Fistula is the best option for most patients because it uses a patient’s natural artery (A) and vein (V) to surgically create a connection between the artery and vein, making a loop/access through which dialysis can be performed. AV fistulas normally result in better dialysis treatments, lower infection rates and fewer complications than other types of dialysis access.

AV Graft

An AV Graft uses a piece of artificial graft to connect the artery and vein to create an artificial loop/access through which dialysis can be performed.

Central IV Line

A Central IV line is a large IV with two ports (openings) that is placed in a large vessel in the neck or upper chest. Dialysis is performed by connecting/accessing the IV ports.

Vascular Access Health

Since ESRD patients need dialysis on a regular schedule, it is important to keep the vascular access point healthy and clean. Even so, sometimes clots or infection can develop. When this happens, the site needs to be re-opened immediately. By keeping vascular access healthy, patients can avoid problems such as missed dialysis treatments and hospitalizations.