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Use Of Catheters In Dialysis Linked With High Risk Of Infections, Heart Problems, And Death

Dialysis patients using catheters to access the blood have the highest risks for death, infections, and cardiovascular events compared with patients using other types of vascular access, according to an analysis appearing in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). The authors note that more research is needed to determine individual patients' risks, however.



For kidney disease patients who must undergo dialysis, experts recommend an arteriovenous fistula, which is created by connecting patient's own vein and artery to form a long-lasting site through which blood can be removed and returned. Alternatively, a patient may use an arteriovenous graft, which is a plastic conduit between an artery and a vein. Many patients use a catheter instead for several reasons, including inadequate preparation for dialysis, avoidance of surgery or fear of needles, as attachment to the dialysis machine via a catheter does not require needles. Also, an arteriovenous fistula or graft is not possible in all patients, especially those who are sicker.

 

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