Dialysis Catheters

KRMC Interventional Radiology
Dialysis catheters are placed for patients requiring temporary or permanent help when their kidneys are unable to function properly. Dialysis helps the body cleanse the blood of impurities when the kidneys are unable to keep up due to illness or deteriorating kidney function.

Dialysis catheters are placed in the upper chest or neck for patients who do not have a surgically placed dialysis access (fistula). They may be used immediately after placement.

How to Prepare
  • You may need to have blood drawn in advance of your procedure or during your dialysis run.
  • A nurse may call you the day before your procedure to review your medications and any last-minute instructions.
  • Do not eat anything for six hours before your procedure.
  • Bring someone to drive you home.
What to Expect
  • The procedure begins with an assessment and an IV start in the holding room before going to the interventional radiology lab.
  • You may be given a mild sedative to help you relax, and you also will receive an antibiotic before the procedure.
  • In the lab, the interventional radiology staff will help you onto a narrow table, connect you to the monitoring equipment and clean the access site with an alcohol-based solution.
  • The dialysis catheter is most commonly placed in the vein at the juncture of your clavicle and neck. A sterile drape will be placed over your face and neck, and you will be asked to turn your head away from the access site.
  • You will return to the holding room for recovery, and then you may be discharged to the dialysis center for a dialysis run the same day your catheter is placed.
After the Procedure
  • The dialysis staff will give you specific instructions on the care of your catheter.
  • You may take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) to relieve any mild discomfort at the insertion site.