ACCESS CENTER FAQ’S

Can I get dialysis done at the Access Center?

No, however if your own center cannot fit you in another shift that meets your dialysis needs, the staff will arrange dialysis at one of the hospital units.  Transportation to and from the hospital is your responsibility. 

Can I take my Coumadin or Plavix before this procedure?

You may tak your Plavix before any procedure.  If you are on Coumadin it will depend on your INR(the blood test your doctor monitors for your Coumadin dosing).  The dialysis center nurse needs to address this with your doctor.  Can I take my blood pressure pills before this procedure?


You can take all your normal morning medications.

I have an IV dye allergy.  Do I need to do something special?

Yes.  Before your procedure, your dialysis unit will call in a prescription for a medication with special dosing instructions.

Will the dye harm my kidneys?

We use diluted dye in very small amounts.  If you are on dialysis, this does not present a risk to your kidney function.  If you are a transplant patient or have not yet started dialysis, we will be in contact with your nephrologist, to determine what pre-procedure steps need to be taken to prevent kidney injury.

What can I do to prolong the life of my fistula?

-Check your fistula daily for the thrill.  Let your dialysis nurses know if it weakens.
-Do not carry heavy items with your access arm.
-Do not sleep on your access arm
-Do not wear clothing or jewelry that binds your access arm.
-Do not let anyone draw blood or take a blood pressure on your access arm.
-Do not use creams or lotions over the fistula/graft.
-Monitor for signs of infection at your access site.

What is the difference between a fistula and a graft?

A fistula is an access created by your surgeon by connecting your artery to your vein.  A graft is an access created by your surgeon by connecting your artery and vein together with an artificial blood vessel.

How do I decrease the possibility of infection with my permcath?

-If one of the caps come off, do not replace it.  Let the dialysis staff clean the lumen and give you a new cap.
-Keep the dressing intact over the place the catheter enters your chest.
-Keep the dressing clean and dry
-No swimming or submerging the permcath in a bathtub.

Will the procedure be painful?

The amount of discomfort felt is unique to each individual and each different procedure.  In the event medication is needed for pain, you must not eat or drink prior to the procedure.  It is also required that you have someone available to drive you home after the procedure      The majority of patients do not require pain medication.

More helpful links to learn about your access and dialysis.   Click Here