Vascular Access

Vascular access procedures are performed to enable healthcare providers to more easily access the body’s blood stream. They are used for patients who require frequent blood draws, intravenous (IV) medications, chemotherapy, blood transfusions, kidney dialysis and more. Vascular access avoids the need for repeated needle sticks and gives patients an easier and less stressful way to draw blood or deliver treatment.

Implanted Medical Port

Also known as a portacath or subcutaneous port, this image-guided procedure is performed to place a catheter (a thin, soft and flexible tube) into a vein so that blood may be drawn or medication can be infused directly into the blood stream. The other end of the catheter connects to a small device (about the size of a quarter) just under the skin in the chest, arm or abdomen. The implanted medical port can remain in place for weeks, months of years.

Vascular Access services - Memphis

Tunneled Medical Catheter

Also known as a tunneled central line catheter, this procedure is performed to place a catheter within a large vein near the heart and up through the jugular vein in the neck. Tunneled catheters have a longer tract than a non-tunneled catheter (PICC line) with a shorter tract. It is used for long-term access, and can be used for parenteral nutrition, fluid resuscitation, antibiotics, chemotherapy and more.

Tunneled Dialysis Catheter

A tunneled dialysis catheter is similar to a tunneled medical catheter but has two inner channels—one for removing blood to a hemodialysis machine and the other for returning the blood to the body. It can stay in the body for weeks or months, and is usually used at the start of hemodialysis until your permanent access (arteriovenous fistula) is ready to use.


Patients having routine hemodialysis have a fistula or graft that provides ongoing dialysis access. Over time, problems with fistulas and dialysis grafts can occur, such as vein narrowing, clotting or stenosis—a buildup of plaque within the access point. Memphis vascular interventional radiologists use a diagnostic imaging technique called a fistulagram to check for blockages or problems within the fistula or graft. If a blockage is found, they may use minimally invasive techniques angioplasty or thrombolysis to treat the problem.

Contact us at 901-683-1890 for more information. Or schedule an appointment online HERE.

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