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Vascular Access Services at UPMC in Central Pa.

UPMC in Central Pa. is the only health system in Central Pennsylvania that offers a dedicated Vascular Access Center.

Why choose UPMC in Central Pa. for vascular access services?

With one phone call, the staff at UPMC in Central Pa. can schedule a vascular access procedure within two weeks at our dedicated Vascular Access Center. We offer a full range of vascular access services, including:

  • Vein mapping and venous duplex
  • Vascular access placement
  • Vascular access revision and replacement
  • Fistulagrams (an x-ray procedure to look at the blood flow and check for blood clots or other blockages in your fistula)
  • Thrombectomies (surgical removal of a blood clot from a blood vessel)
  • Catheter placement and exchange
  • Vascular access education

If you are receiving dialysis, our specially trained nurse navigators will coordinate your care between your nephrologist, dialysis center, and the operating room to eliminate delays in your treatment and provide exceptional, personalized care. Because we have all records related to your vascular access history, we can develop the best plan of care for you and eliminate potential complications.

What is vascular access?

Vascular access provides a direct pathway to your bloodstream that allows for the delivery of medication or use of devices, such as a dialysis machine, for an extended period of time.

During dialysis, for example, your blood circulates through a machine that works in place of your kidneys to control blood pressure and remove waste, salt, and excess water. For your blood to travel to the dialysis machine, a vascular access point is created in your body through minor surgery. There are several types of vascular access, including:

  • AV fistula. An AV fistula is a connection, made by a vascular surgeon, of an artery to a vein. Arteries carry blood from your heart to your body, while veins carry blood from your body back to your heart. An AV Fistula is the best option for most dialysis patients because it uses a patient’s natural artery (A) and vein (V) to surgically create a connection between your artery and vein, making a loop/access through which dialysis can be performed.
  • AV graft. An AV graft uses a piece of artificial graft to connect your artery and vein to create an artificial loop/access through which dialysis can be performed.
  • Central IV (intravenous line). A central IV line is a large IV with two ports (openings) that is placed in a large vessel in your neck or upper chest. Dialysis is performed by connecting/accessing the IV ports.

What happens during a vascular access procedure?

There are several types of vascular access procedures. Your surgeon will recommend the vascular access procedure that is right for you after reviewing your health history and treatment plan.

At UPMC in Central Pa., vascular access procedures are performed at UPMC in Central Pa. Community Osteopathic, a Magnet-designated hospital located across the parking lot from the Vascular Access Center.

What can I expect after vascular access?

No matter which type of vascular access procedure your surgeon performs, it is important to keep the vascular access point healthy and clean. Even so, sometimes clots or infection can develop. When this happens, the site needs to be re-opened immediately. By keeping your vascular access site healthy, you can avoid problems such as missed dialysis treatments and hospitalizations.


Need more information?

Phone: 717-731-0101

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