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‚ÄčOakwood Kidney Institute

Infections in Kidney Disease
Patients with kidney disease are more susceptible to infections as a result of derangement of immune system. Infections are the second most common cause of death in dialysis patients.

These bacterial infections include dialysis access (AV fistula/graft) and catheter infections, urinary tract, pneumonia, tuberculosis, abdominal (diverticulosis), heart valve (endocarditis), bone (osteomyelitis), skin, and brain (meningitis) infections.  

Viral infections such as hepatitis B, C and A are also more common.  Patients are also more prone to fungal infections.  

Transplant patients and patients being treated with immune suppression medications for lupus and other conditions are also highly prone to infections.

Antibiotics to treat specific infections, immunizations and prophylactic antibiotics for patients undergoing invasive procedures can be prescribed by your doctor.

Access Infections
All three types of vascular access, AV fistula, AV graft, and venous catheter, can have complications that require further treatment or surgery. The most common complications are access infection and low blood flow due to blood clotting in the access. Access infections are the most common source of infection in hemodialysis patients.

Venous catheters are most likely to develop infection and clotting problems that may require medications and catheter removal or replacement.

AV grafts may also develop low blood flow, an indication of clotting or narrowing of the access. In this situation, the AV graft may require angioplasty, a procedure to widen the small segment that is narrowed. Another option is to perform surgery on the AV graft and replace the narrow segment.

Infection and low blood flow are much less common in AV fistulas than in AV grafts and venous catheters. Still, having an AV fistula is not a guarantee against complications.