what’s the difference between a perm-a-cath and a tunneled line?

There are several types of venous access available for dialysis:

  • AV fistula: ideal because blood vessels have had time to heal and scar over.
  • AV graft: less mature than a fistula, but still pretty good
  • Dialysis catheter: any one of various tubing used to establish venous access
    • tunneled line (Hickman):  as the name implies, tunnels under the skin to the subclavian and can last for months to years
    • Perm-a-cath (vascath): fancy name for a central line. This is probably the least favorable option because it may work for several months before failing and is associated with higher rates of infection

As a reference, here is this handy, concise guide on catheters from the ACP.

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