Dialysis Catheter

What is a dialysis catheter?

A dialysis catheter is a specialized type of central venous catheter used for dialysis.

How is the dialysis catheter used?

The dialysis catheter is placed by the doctor into the patient's shoulder (subclavian), neck (jugular), or groin (femoral) vein. When the patient needs dialysis, the catheter is attached to the dialysis machine by dialysis tubing. The patient's blood flows into the dialysis machine and is filtered to remove fluids and/or toxins, and then returned back to the patient. The dialysis catheter is usually used for dialysis only.

Does the dialysis catheter hurt?

The insertion of the dialysis catheter causes some discomfort. The doctor uses local numbing medication to lessen this discomfort. Once in place, the dialysis catheter rarely causes discomfort.

What are the potential complications associated with the use of the dialysis catheter?

The potential complications of the dialysis catheter include bleeding, infection, lung collapse and incorrect position within the vein.

Dialysis catheter inserted in vein in lower part of the neck (internal jugular vein). The arrow points to the red port of the dialysis catheter. The blue port of the dialysis catheter can be seen just to the right of the red port.