Dialysis Access Specialist

Douglas Vascular Center

Vascular Surgeons & Venous Specialists located in Douglas, GA

If you’re one of the more than half a million women and men in the United States whose kidneys have failed, you need to maintain clean, clear access for your dialysis treatments. At Douglas Vascular Center in Douglas, Georgia, the vascular experts coordinate with your access surgeon, nephrologist, and other health care providers to maintain your dialysis access, remove clots, evaluate fistulas, and provide complete catheter services. The team, led by William H. Davis, MD, FACS, provides the most up to date imaging, diagnostics, and interventions to meet your dialysis access maintenance needs. Make an appointment by phone or book online.

Dialysis Access

Why do I need dialysis access maintenance?

If you have stage 5 kidney disease and need regular dialysis treatments, keeping your access clear is essential to staying healthy. The team at Douglas Vascular Center works with your nephrologist and surgeon to determine a schedule to evaluate your access regularly and intervene when necessary. Contact Douglas Vascular Center if you can’t feel the vibration known as a “thrill” over your access.

How do doctors evaluate my access?

Some fistulas and grafts can be evaluated with Duplex Ultrasound, a totally painless, non-invasive imaging technique that, in many cases, can help decide if treatment is needed.

Douglas Vascular Center could also recommend a special X-ray called a fistulagram if you have:

  • Weak thrill
  • Low flow rate
  • Prolonged bleeding
  • Difficulty with cannulation
  • High venous pressures
  • Low arterial pressures
  • Hand or arm pain, worsened when on the dialysis machine
  • Arm or facial swelling

 If you have a problem with your access, the team recommends therapies to resolve it.

What if my fistula hasn’t matured properly?

If your surgeon created a fistula by joining a vein and artery to create access for your dialysis, your fistula needs to “mature” before you can undergo treatment. If your fistula hasn’t matured within 6-12 weeks, the team at Douglas Vascular Center uses ultrasound and X-rays to determine why. They may then perform angioplasty (balloon-assisted maturation) or coil embolization to reroute circulation to the fistula and aid its maturation. 

What if my inflow artery or outflow vein has narrowed?

If studies show stenosis (i.e., narrowing) in your access vein or artery, the Douglas Vascular Center surgeons clear the blockage. They may choose from:

Peripheral artery angioplasty 

A procedure where a balloon catheter opens the stenosis and is withdrawn. 

Peripheral artery stent

A procedure in which a balloon opens a stent, which is left in place to keep the vessel open. 

Thrombolysis

You’re given clot-dissolving medications injected into the blockage

Thrombectomy

A procedure where a catheter used to break up clots and blockages 

The Douglas Vascular Center surgeons use X-ray and ultrasound-guided imaging to guide stenosis therapies. 

What if I need a catheter?

If you need dialysis right away and can’t wait for your fistula or graft to mature, the Douglas Vascular Center surgeons create a temporary central venous access by placing a temporary catheter in your groin or neck. They use ultrasound guidance to choose the optimal location.

What if I need a new access?

Douglas Vascular Center offers vein mapping with ultrasound and possibly with contrast dye also. Your surgeon, nephrologist, and dialysis access experts then develop a plan to ensure optimal placement of your fistula.

Contact the dialysis access experts at Douglas Vascular Center today, by phone or online form, for access maintenance.