What is Vascular Access?
The function of the kidneys is to remove waste from the blood stream. Patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) have kidney failure, and require hemodialysis to filter the blood.
In order to clean the patient's blood, a vascular access point is created. Two common solutions for vascular access are the creation of an arteriovenous (AV) fistula or the implantation of an AV graft.
Both AV fistulas and AV grafts are punctured multiple times a week for hours at a time to connect the patient to a dialyzer, used to clean the blood. The AV fistula is not always an option for patients that smoke or have diabetes.