Dialysis Access

Patients with kidney disease may need dialysis, a treatment that cleanses and filters the blood. We offer our patients options for both hemodialysis, which uses a machine, and peritoneal dialysis, which uses your stomach lining. For hemodialysis patients, we tailor your treatment to accommodate your unique anatomy. 

The Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Heart & Vascular Center is also one of the largest centers for peritoneal dialysis in the Piedmont region. 

Types of Dialysis Access at Wake Forest 

For hemodialysis patients, we commonly use the wrist or forearm for dialysis access. We offer fistula, graft and catheter-based techniques. Whenever possible, we try to use an AV fistula, considered the "gold standard" for dialysis access. For patients who are not fistula candidates, we also use grafts and catheters.  

  • Arteriovenous (AV) fistula: Your doctor connects a vein to an artery to create an AV fistula. The fistula takes a few months to develop after surgery. Once formed, it can last for years, providing access with good blood flow.  
  • Graft: Your doctor connects an artery to a vein by inserting a graft, or plastic tube, under your skin. A graft can be used for dialysis within a few weeks of placement.  
  • HeRO Graft: The HeRO graft is an option for patients with limited dialysis access who have previously undergone treatment often. It provides an alternative to tunneled dialysis catheters. With the help of X-ray imaging, your doctor inserts a tube (called the outflow component) into a large vein in your neck. This tube connects to a regular dialysis graft placed in an artery.  

You and your doctor will decide which type of dialysis access is right for you. Your doctor will consider many factors, such as whether veins are blocked or too small to use, and how quickly you need to start dialysis treatment. 

Peritoneal Dialysis at Wake Forest      

You may be a candidate for peritoneal dialysis, a process that you can perform on your own at home. If you are eligible, your doctor inserts a small catheter into your abdomen, which sits along the lining of your abdomen, called the peritoneal membrane. 

Wake Forest Baptist Health offers two types of peritoneal dialysis:  

  • Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD): You attach yourself to a machine four to five times a day for 30-minute sessions. 
  • Automated Peritoneal Dialysis (APD): You attach yourself to a machine for 10-12 hours at night, while asleep. 

Contact Us 

Request an appointment online. Or, for more information, please call:

  • 336-716-WAKE or 
  • 888-716-WAKE (toll-free) 

Quick Reference

Heart & Vascular Center
New Patients

Local 336-716-WAKE
Toll-free 888-716-WAKE

Returning Patients

Vascular 336-716-4151
Heart 336-716-6674

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Last Updated: 05-26-2014
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.