Skip to Content

Dialysis Access Services at UPMC in Central Pa.

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

Why choose UPMC in Central Pa. for Dialysis Access Services?

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

  • Vein mapping and venous duplex.
  • Dialysis access placement.
  • Dialysis 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.
  • Dialysis 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 dialysis access history, we can develop the best plan of care for you and eliminate potential complications.

What is Dialysis Access?

Dialysis 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 dialysis access point is created in your body through minor surgery. There are several types of dialysis access, including:

  • AV fistula. An AV fistula is a connection, made by a dialysis 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 Dialysis Access Procedure?

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

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

What Can I Expect After Dialysis Access?

No matter which type of dialysis access procedure your surgeon performs, it is important to keep the dialysis 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 dialysis access site healthy, you can avoid problems such as missed dialysis treatments and hospitalizations.


Need more information?

Phone: 717-920-4330

Connect with the UPMC Central PA Portal app 24/7

UPMC Central PA Portal provides patients across the region with fast and secure access to their health information. Send a message to your doctor. Refill prescriptions and get test results. Schedule and manage appointments, including video visits. And much more. Log-In or Sign Up Today

Contact UPMC

When it comes to health care for you and your family, UPMC is here. It's easy to find the right doctor, health screenings, programs, classes, and more.

Contact UPMC in central Pa.