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Interventional Nephrology

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If you are on chronic hemodialysis for kidney failure, you know that any complication with your vascular hemodialysis access (the surgically created conduit to access routine hemodialysis) can lead to serious health problems.

If you are having problems with your vascular access fistula or graft, you need comprehensive care from an interventional nephrologist — a kidney specialist who focuses on vascular access.

The interventional nephrology program at Rush specializes in providing routine and complex care for the management of hemodialysis fistulae, grafts and catheters. An interventional nephrologist at Rush will identify and address the causes of hemodialysis vascular access dysfunction, and focus on preventing and treating these problems.

Some causes of vascular access dysfunction include the following:

  • Vessel stenosis (blood vessel narrowing)
  • Thrombosis (blood clot)
  • Aneurysm development
  • Infection
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The interventional nephrology program at Rush provides the following services:

  • Thrombectomy and declot: A procedure to remove blood clots and re-establish blood flow in the dialysis access.
  • Angiogram and fistulogram: Your clinician will inject contrast through the fistula or graft to identify the cause of a blood flow problem.
  • Angioplasty: Your clinician uses a balloon catheter to widen a stenosis or narrowing.
  • Stent placement: Used to help prop open a blood vessel that is narrow after angioplasty.
  • Tunneled central lines management: Your clinician will place a dialysis catheter in one of the central veins, exchanged or removed.
  • Vessel mapping: Your clinician will use an ultrasound and/or angiogram to identify the best blood vessels and optimal access surgery for vascular access.

Most interventional nephrology procedures at Rush are outpatient.