Angioplasty and Stents

Angioplasty For Dialysis

An angioplasty is performed immediately following a fistulogram when it is determined that there is a narrowing (stenosis) or blockage in a patient’s dialysis access (fistula or graft). A stenosis or blockage can limit blood flow through the access, and this can cause inadequate dialysis treatments or access failure. A special tube with a tiny deflated balloon is inserted and positioned at the narrowed or blocked site. The balloon is inflated to open the affected site, and then the balloon is deflated and removed to allow improvement in blood flow. If blood clots are found within the dialysis access, the blood clots can be broken up into small pieces and removed either using medications or a mechanical device during the angioplasty procedure.


If the angioplasty procedure does not provide adequate improvement in the narrowed or blocked areas of the dialysis access, a stent (mesh tube) may then be placed at the affected site. The goal of placing the stent is to hold the blood vessel open in order to improve the blood flow.

Angioplasty and stent placement are both outpatient procedures that are done at our Indiana Kidney Institute and are performed by one of our board certified Interventional Nephrologists. Since these procedures are typically done following a fistulogram, you will already be under conscious sedation. This means that we give you medicines enabling you to be conscious, yet relaxed, and to minimize or eliminate pain, anxiety or discomfort.