Comparing Hemodialysis Access Types: What’s Best and What’s Next

There are 3 types of access for hemodialysis (HD): AV (arteriovenous) fistula, graft and HD catheter. Choosing the best access for you will help you get the most out of your treatment and help you stay your healthiest. It’s important to understand which types are recommended—and why.

Fistula vs. graft vs. catheter

See how the choices compare so you can make an informed decision.

FISTULA (AV OR AVF)
The gold standard of HD access sites
Improves the quality of your dialysis treatment
Offers low risk of infection
Lasts up to 20+ years
Helps you avoid complications and hospitalizations
Offers the best survival rate of all AV access sites
Good for anyone who’s physically eligible for the optimal access
Graft
A good alternative if you’re not a candidate for a fistula
Improves the quality of your dialysis treatment
Offers low risk of infection
Helps you avoid complications and hospitalizations
May help prepare you for a fistula later
Good for people with smaller or weaker veins
Good for people who can’t get a fistula and want their best access
Catheter
Not recommended unless required for health reasons
Possible to upgrade to another access
Good for people who medically require a hemodialysis catheter
FISTULA (AV OR AVF) Graft HD Catheter
The gold standard of HD access sites A good alternative if you’re not a candidate for a fistula Not recommended unless required for health reasons
Improves the quality of your dialysis treatment
Offers low risk of infection
Lasts up to 20 years
Helps you avoid complications and hospitalizations
Offers the best survival rate of all HD access sites
Good for people with smaller or weaker veins
Possible to upgrade to a better access
Who it’s good for Anyone who’s physically able and wants the best access Anyone who can’t get a fistula and wants an effective access Anyone who medically requires a hemodialysis catheter

It’s never too early to discuss access types

The sooner you and your doctor decide on your best hemodialysis access, the better. Planning ahead gives you the most flexibility in getting the access type you want. Ask your doctor if a fistula is right for you.

PLANNING YOUR ACCESS SURGERY

Once you and your doctor have decided on an access type, you’ll want to schedule your surgery. Azura Vascular Care, an affiliate of Fresenius Kidney Care, offers minimally invasive, outpatient dialysis access surgery.

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