The Eastern Shore’s only Dialysis Vascular Access Clinic is now open at The Memorial Hospital at Easton. This new Shore Health System specialty clinic operates in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
The staff of the Dialysis Vascular Access Clinic (DVAC) offer weekly appointments that combine patient education with extensive medical consultations and evaluations. The clinic expedites the surgical services needed to prepare individuals for long-term dialysis treatment.
Dialysis, a treatment that removes wastes and excess fluid from the blood, is most frequently used for individuals with severe kidney failure. The term “vascular access” refers to the site on the body, usually the patient’s arm, where the blood is removed and returned quickly, efficiently, and safely during dialysis. There are three possible types of vascular access, each created surgically during an outpatient procedure performed at Memorial Hospital by specially trained vascular surgeons from the medical staffs of Shore Health System and the University of Maryland Medical Center.
“Dialysis vascular access is a complicated decision for the patient and a process that requires stringent coordination among the members of the patient’s healthcare team,” says surgeon Kevin Stitely, MD, a member of the Shore Health System medical staff. “Evaluation of the patient’s cardiopulmonary system, as well as the dialysis method, will influence which access type and location are most desirable. Through the Shore Health System Dialysis Vascular Access Clinic, patients can be educated about their options. They are then medically evaluated and prepared in the shortest time possible without leaving the Eastern Shore.”
Working with Dr. Stitely at DVAC is Eugene J. Schweitzer, MD, transplant surgeon at the University of Maryland Medical Center and professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The clinic is coordinated by Trish Rosenberry RN, transplant and vascular access coordinator for Shore Health System.
The initial visit for prospective dialysis patients begins with a thirty-minute educational session to present information about the various types of dialysis. The session continues with a pre-operative screening and consultation with a vascular surgeon.
“The one day of clinic services will determine the individual’s readiness for dialysis access surgery, and on average, will decrease evaluation and surgical preparation from a six-to-eight week time period to three weeks,” says Rosenberry.
Nephrologist Adam Weinstein, MD, and his partners Anish Hinduja, MD, and Christina Turner, MD, view the Dialysis Vascular Access Clinic as meeting a critical need for some of their patients. Dr. Weinstein says, “Organizing these services into one centralized clinical program benefits our patients because, by the time they are making these important decisions, they are usually very ill, at high-risk for life-threatening complications and suffer from mobility constraints. DVAC will remove the added stress of travel to multiple locations, reduce the number of recurring appointments, and expand our vascular surgical expertise on the Shore.”
The Dialysis Vascular Access Clinic and the Shore Health System Kidney Transplant Clinic are two of the first clinical programs that Shore Health System is offering in collaboration with the University of Maryland Medical Center and the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Chris Mitchell, MSN, RN, director of emergency and outpatient services for Shore Health System, comments, “The synergies that we continue to create through our affiliation with the University of Maryland Medical System allow Shore Health System to continually expand the caliber of care available to our patients in the Mid-Shore region.”
For more information about the Shore Health System Dialysis Vascular Access Clinic, call 410-822-1000, ext. 5067.