Azura Vascular Care Brings Innovative Dialysis Access Technology to Northeast Florida
Ellipsys System offers minimally invasive alternative to surgery for creating vascular access in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD)
Jacksonville, Fla.—Azura Vascular Care Jacksonville is celebrating its first full year of offering the Ellipsys® Vascular Access System, a revolutionary technology that provides easier access to the bloodstream for kidney patients who require hemodialysis treatments.
In January 2020, the facility became the first in Jacksonville to offer the minimally invasive technology, which creates a type of dialysis access known as an endovascular fistula. Since then, they have performed over 60 successful procedures with the Ellipsys System, according to interventional radiologist Rishi Razdan, MD, Medical Director at Azura Vascular Care Jacksonville.
“We were very eager to offer this minimally invasive technology, as it enables us to give our patients a percutaneous option to create their hemodialysis access as quickly as possible with very little recovery time and significantly less pain than the traditional surgical option,” he said. “Patients are very excited about the prospect of a procedure that enables them to safely and quickly obtain a fistula while avoiding the need for open surgery, potential hospitalization, and significant scarring.”
Hemodialysis requires access to the patient’s bloodstream, which is typically created by
establishing a permanent connection between an artery and a vein in the arm known as a fistula. For the past 50 years, the only way to create a fistula was with an invasive surgery that causes considerable discomfort and requires sometimes long recovery times. This traditional procedure is typically performed in a hospital setting, oftentimes under general anesthesia.
In contrast, the Ellipsys System uses a small needle puncture and catheter under ultrasound to create a fistula without the need for incisions or stitches. The procedure can be performed in an outpatient setting in as little as 30 minutes, without the need for a general anesthetic, and requires little to no recovery time. The procedure minimizes trauma to the patient’s existing anatomy, leading to better cosmetic outcomes. In fact, the patient leaves with only a band-aid on the arm.
Research also shows that endovascular fistulas can be ready to use for dialysis sooner than surgical fistulas1. This faster maturation provides an important advantage in that it can reduce or in some cases, eliminate, the amount of time that dialysis patients require a central venous catheter (CVC). Compared to fistulas, CVCs are associated with significantly higher rates of complications—including infections and even death—yet 80 percent of patients in the United States still start their dialysis with a catheter.
Matthew Robinson, a 33-year old automotive service technician from Jacksonville, was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2017. Wanting to avoid the major surgery and recovery that a fistula requires, he opted for a catheter when he began dialysis in 2018. However, the risks of infection with the catheter placed major limitations on his daily life. It made activities like bathing and exercising difficult, and even forced him to take leave from his physically demanding job.
As a result, Robinson was very interested when his physicians offered a non-surgical, minimally invasive option to create a fistula. He underwent the Ellipsys procedure with Dr. Razdan in January 2021, and he was able to begin dialysis with his new fistula in less than a month. His catheter was removed in February 2021, giving him a new lease on life.
“The Ellipsys procedure was so easy. There was no pain or discomfort, and everything happened exactly as the doctors planned,” he said. “This has made such an improvement in my life. Removing the catheter has helped me feel normal again. Now I just want to focus on getting my strength back and returning to the workforce.”
Dr. Razdan believes that the Ellipsys system promises to improve dialysis access for future ESRD patients like Robinson. As a result, Dr. Razdan now trains other physicians who are interested in bringing this innovative technology to their own communities — including his older brother, an interventional radiologist in Lincoln, Neb.
“I absolutely think that Ellipsys is going to be at the forefront of future fistula creation,” he says. “Although there will always be a need for surgical fistulas, at some point, Ellipsys will likely become a first-line option for patients, offering expedient, minimally invasive hemodialysis access creation while minimizing central venous catheter dwell times.”
The Ellipsys Vascular Access System is currently available from Azura Vascular Care of Jacksonville. Patients can call (904) 353-3664 or visit www.azuravascularcare.com/center/azura-vascular-care-jacksonville to request an appointment.
About Azura Vascular Care of Jacksonville
For more than a decade, Azura Vascular Care of Jacksonville has been providing high-quality, comprehensive outpatient vascular care with a commitment to compassion, integrity, and excellence. The entire clinical team specializes in minimally invasive image-guided procedures for dialysis access management in an outpatient setting. For end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients, this experienced and dedicated team provides access placement and proven therapies to ensure that the dialysis access functions optimally for successful treatments, with minimal interruption to a patient’s dialysis schedule.
- Shahverdyan R, Beathard G, Mushtaq N, Litchfield TF, Vartanian S, Konner K, Jennings WC, Comparison of Ellipsys Percutaneous and Proximal Forearm Gracz-Type Surgical Arteriovenous Fistulas, American Journal of Kidney Diseases (2021), doi: https://doi.org/10.1053/ j.ajkd.2021.01.011.