Vascular Access Services
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.
Services We Offer:
- Vein mapping and venous duplex
- Vascular access placement
- Vascular access revision and replacement
- Fistulagrams (An X-ray procedure to look at the blood flow and check for blood clots or other blockages in your fistula)
- Thrombectomies (Surgical removal of a blood clot from a blood vessel)
- Catheter placement and exchange
- Vascular access education
What is Vascular Access?
Vascular access devices help patients who have kidney problems receive dialysis to filter their blood as their kidneys would normally filter it if they were healthy. 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 in your body through minor surgery.
Types of Vascular Access
- AV Fistula. An AV fistula is a connection, made by a vascular surgeon, of an artery to a vein. Arteries carry blood from the heart to the body, while veins carry blood from the body back to the heart. 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 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 ( Intravenous 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.
Ongoing Vascular Access Health
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 your vascular access healthy, you can avoid problems such as missed dialysis treatments and hospitalizations.
Our specially trained nurse navigator will coordinate efforts between your nephrologist, dialysis center and the operating room to eliminate delays in your treatment and provide exceptional, personalized care. Because we have all records related to your vascular access history, we can develop the best plan of care and eliminate potential complications.
For added convenience, vascular access procedures are performed at Community General Osteopathic Hospital, a Magnet-designated hospital located across the parking lot from the Vascular Access Center.