Pediatric Vascular Access for Hemodialysis

Pediatric Vascular Access for Hemodialysis

What is Pediatric Vascular Access for Hemodialysis?

Vascular access is a way to reach the blood vessels for hemodialysis. Your child’s vascular access is their dialysis lifeline.

There are three types:

  • Fistula - an artery and vein sewn together
    • Blood from the artery makes the vein thicker so it can be used for dialysis. A fistula is often the longest-lasting access. A fistula is most often placed in an arm or leg
  • Graft - a piece of man-made blood vessel
    • A graft is used to connect an artery and a vein together. A graft can be placed in an arm or leg
  • Catheter - a plastic tube placed into a large vein.
    • A catheter is most often placed in the neck, but it may also be in the chest or groin. Catheters may be used for a short time while waiting to get a fistula or graft or waiting for a fistula or graft to heal.

There are only a few sites for vascular access. It is important to care for your child’s access so it will last as long as possible.

Pediatric Vascular Access for Hemodialysis Doctors and Providers

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a hemodialysis catheter?

    A hemodialysis catheter is used for dialysis. It is a soft plastic tube. The hemodialysis catheter is put in a large vein, and the tip of it is near the heart. The other end of the catheter is outside of the body.

    Your dialysis team will be the ONLY people to use the hemodialysis catheter

    These catheters have two tubes

    • Red tube – draws blood from the vein and out of the body into the dialysis pathway
    • Blue Tube – return clean blood to the body

    All hemodialysis catheters should have:

    • Clear dressing covering the catheter
    • Stop sign sticker on the dressing

Resources

Your Child’s Hemodialysis Journey: Printable version