Things we’re thankful for

Give Thanks

At this time of year, most people pause to reflect on the things that they’re thankful for. VCU Health at Baird Vascular Institute is no different – we have many things that we’re grateful for this season.

We’re thankful for great patients who trust us for their care. Our business is built on patients who rely on our expertise to treat a wide variety of conditions and symptoms.

We’re thankful for a committed staff. We’re blessed to have a staff that goes above and beyond their normal duties every day. They treat our patients like family with the utmost care and compassion.

We’re thankful for new technologies. Interventional radiology is often on the forefront of new technologies that allow for treatments that are less invasive, less painful and heal more quickly. We’re thankful that we can bring those technologies to the people of Richmond and help keep our community healthy and active.

We’re thankful for physicians who are exceptional at what they do. Our specialists approach the care and treatment of their patients with the utmost professionalism and commitment to quality care and treatment. We’re lucky to have a team who truly care about the success of our practice and the continued health and well-being of their patients.

As we approach the oncoming holiday season, we’d like to say “Thank You” for your trust in VCU Health. Here’s to a happy, healthy holiday!

Maintaining good health through the stressful holiday season.


Let’s face it, even though the holidays are full of wonderful memories with family and friends, they are stressful. Adding gift shopping, cooking and travel to our already jam-packed lives can leave you feeling exhausted and stressed – not joyful and merry. We often take all this stress for granted, but too much can leave us feeling cranky, tired and trigger depression. The holiday season can be hard on many levels, but if you happen to also be dealing with health issues such as cancer, the holidays can indeed take a toll on your health as well.

Before things get overwhelming, here are some tips to consider as we head into this busy, but wonderful time of year.

Keep a calendar. Keep track of must-attend events and travel dates and accept/decline additional invites around those most important ones. Set priorities around things you want to achieve and be realistic with what’s possible.

Remember it’s OK to say no. Once your calendar starts to fill up, it’s entirely acceptable to politely decline invitations. This also goes for volunteer requests, social events, church events and traveling. Carefully schedule your appointments, and listen to your body when it needs rest.

Stay on budget. Sometimes we go all-out in the attempt to find the perfect gift. There is rarely a perfect gift. Maintain your budget and January’s stress will be greatly reduced.

Ask for help. You don’t have to take it all on yourself. Children can wrap gifts, decorate cookies and help more around the house during this time of year. You could also combine a get-together with friends or family with a gift-wrapping night or a cookie swap. If you need help with things like decorating, ask friends to come over and help and offer an afternoon of catching up and cocoa and cookies when they’re finished.

Watch what you eat and drink. The holidays are filled with delicious food and opportunities to over indulge. It’s certainly fine to enjoy yourself, but too much over indulgence can be bad for your waistline, and too much alcohol can make for misery the following day. Remember to take it easy, drink lots of water, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables as an option during the meals. If you’re able to exercise, continue your exercise plan throughout the holiday season.

Take time to enjoy the season. Take time for reflection and pause to remember loved ones near and far. Counting your blessings is one way to deflect all the pressure and stress the season brings. Enjoy those around you.


I’ve been told I need dialysis. What can VCU Health at Baird Vascular Institute do for me?

At the VCU Health at Baird Vascular Institute, our experts are uniquely equipped to deal with the maintenance and care of your dialysis access in a convenient, neighborhood setting. With the latest technology and highly skilled staff, each case is approached as a unique and individual patient, complete with plans of care and follow-up.

If you are starting hemodialysis treatments in the next several months, one crucial step before starting regular hemodialysis sessions is preparing a site on the body to access the vein. Dialysis access is the site on your body where blood is removed and returned during dialysis. To maximize the amount of blood cleansed during hemodialysis treatments, dialysis access should allow continuous high volumes of blood flow.

There are three access options for the dialysis patient – AV fistula, AV graft or a central venous catheter.

To allow for the high volume of blood exchanged, dialysis access to your blood is usually in your arm or leg. Choosing your access is a decision that you and your doctor will make.

Here is some additional information about your options.

AV Fistula

An AV (arteriovenous) fistula is a surgical connection of one of your own arteries to a vein under the skin of your arm. It’s the most natural dialysis access because it’s made with your own blood vessels. Most people can tolerate an AV fistula. However, if your veins are too small or too weak for a fistula, there are other options.

An AV fistula requires advance planning because the fistula takes a while to develop, or mature, after surgery, — in rare cases, as long as 24 months. However, a properly formed fistula is less likely than other kinds of vascular access to form clots or become infected. Also, properly formed AV fistulas tend to last many years—longer than any other type of dialysis access.

AV Graft

An AV graft is a surgical insertion of a special tube that connects to a vein and an artery. It becomes an artificial vein and is used like a fistula. If you have small blood vessels that won’t develop into a fistula, an AV graft may be a good option for you.

An AV graft doesn’t need time to mature as a fistula does, so it can be used sooner after its placement, often within 2 or 3 weeks. Compared with properly formed AV fistulas, AV grafts tend to have more problems with clotting and infection, and need replacement sooner. However, a well-cared-for AV graft can last several years.

Central Venous Catheter

If your kidney disease has progressed quickly, you may not have time to get a permanent dialysis access before you start hemodialysis treatments. You may need to use a central venous catheter as a temporary access. A catheter is a tube inserted into a vein in your neck, chest, or leg near the groin.

Central venous catheters are not ideal for permanent access. They can clog, become infected, and cause narrowing of the veins in which they are placed. But if you need to start hemodialysis immediately, a central venous catheter will work for several weeks or months while your permanent access develops.

For some people, AV fistulas or AV grafts are unsuccessful and they need to use long-term catheter access. Central venous catheters that will be needed for more than about 3 weeks are tunneled under the skin to increase comfort and reduce complications. However, even tunneled catheters are more prone to infection than AV fistula and AV grafts.

Your healthcare team will help you choose the best long-term dialysis access for your situation. If you already have an AV fistula/AV graft that is not functioning properly, or if you need a central venous catheter, speak with your doctor and contact us. We can diagnose and treat you to get your access functioning. Please contact us at (804) 828-2600 or email us at

What other services does VCU Health at Baird Vascular Institute offer besides port procedures?

Baird Institute

You can take advantage of our world-class medical services in a convenient neighborhood setting. Our interventional radiologists and vascular surgeons offer a multidisciplinary approach to vascular disease so that each patient receives a comprehensive vascular screening and a treatment tailored to his or her particular need. The institute affords patients easy access to the full array of expert vascular screening and treatment services offered by the VCU Health.

We offer many minimally invasive services beyond our port procedures, including:

At the VCU Health at Baird Vascular Institute, we have the latest in technology and techniques to diagnose and treat vascular disease. If we uncover signs of vascular disease, our experts can develop a custom treatment plan for you.