kidneys icon - Dialysis Access

Dialysis Access

Patients who require dialysis have a dialysis catheter, or fistula, in the arm. Using interventional radiology, we can monitor and maintain the fistula to be sure everything is working as it should.

Dialysis Access - Human kidney cross section

About Dialysis Access

dialysis fistula in arm
Dialysis device with rotating pumps. Closeup view.

Patients with renal failure require dialysis via an arteriovenous fistula or dialysis catheter.  The fistula is created by a vascular surgeon preferably in the arm, connecting an artery to a vein. Monitoring and maintenance of the fistula is vital in ensuring its longevity for dialysis use.

Over time, dialysis and high flow in the venous side of the fistula can cause narrowing or occlusion and inhibit proper flow for dialysis.


Dialysis fistula problems can be discovered during a dialysis treatment or because flow through the fistula can no longer be felt on physical exam. An interventional radiologist can perform a fistula gram and insert a small catheter to inject contrast into the fistula under x-ray guidance to look for a narrowing or complete occlusion.


The narrowed segments of the fistula can be treated in the same outpatient setting with balloons and stents to help improve flow in the fistula.

When a fistula is not possible, some patients receive dialysis through a temporary or long-term dialysis catheter. These catheters can be placed by an interventional radiologist in the outpatient setting.


You can have this procedure at any of our three interventional radiology locations.

View Locations

Request a Consultation

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.