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Dialysis Catheters

A dialysis catheter is a thin tube inserted through the skin directly into the blood vessel using the AV fistula or AV graft procedure. Each catheter has two openings; one that draws blood from the veins and into the dialysis machine (red), and one that returns cleaned blood into the body (blue). Dialysis catheters are put in patients with chronic renal failure, or in patients with acute renal failure who are waiting for their kidney functions to recover.

How to Prepare for Dialysis Catheters

  • Plan to arrive an hour before the procedure.
  • Your interventional radiologist may request an ultrasound to check for patency (making sure the veins are not blocked).

What to Expect

  • Insertion takes 30 minutes.
  • You will be given a mild sedative through an IV in the arm to keep you relaxed, but conscious. You won’t feel any pain during the procedure.
  • A small incision is made to the neck and/or chest to allow your interventional radiologist to access a large vein.
  • The catheter is inserted into the vein along the chest wall, with the red and blue openings remaining outside of the body.

What to Expect after Dialysis Catheters

  • Your care team can use the dialysis catheter as part of your treatment immediately after it has been placed.

For More Information

For more information on dialysis catheters, or to schedule an appointment with an interventional radiologist, please call 847.570.2160.