Learn about your choices, and plan ahead for a good life with kidney disease.
Types of access
A vascular access is a "lifeline" for hemodialysis - a way to reach your blood so it can go to the artificial kidney (dialyzer) to be cleaned. There are three kinds of access: fistulas, grafts and catheters. When they can be used, arteriovenous (AV) fistulas are the best choice. AV fistulas can last for years and tend to have the fewest problems.
Save your blood vessels
You have a limited number of places on your arms and legs where a doctor can create an AV fistula. Take steps to protect those places so you can use them in the future. There are things you can do now to save your access sites and keep your options open.
Cope with your feelings
You may be sad, angry, afraid - or all three - because your kidneys are failing. This is very normal. Now that you need an access, you may have other feelings, too.
How family and friends can help
You are not alone. Your family and friends can help you cope with your kidney disease - but they may not know what to do. You can help others help you by offering ideas for what you'd like them to do.