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Definition of Catheter, hemodialysis

Catheter, hemodialysis: A venous catheter used for hemodialysis (dialysis of the blood). A hemodialysis catheter is a type of central venous catheter. It may be inserted into the subclavian, internal jugular, or femoral veins. Subclavian catheters generally may be used for 2 to 6 weeks. Hemodialysis catheters are often for relatively short-term use because of an acute need for dialysis or because chronic dialysis is just starting.

Long-term access for hemodialysis may be provided by subcutaneous arteriovenous fistulas in which an artery (the radial artery) is surgically anastomosed (connected) to a vein (the cephalic vein). However, after this procedure is done, it takes 6 to 8 weeks for the forearm veins to dilate and arterialize to be suitable for repeated puncture and hence for long-term hemodialysis.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=23012
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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