Interventional radiologists at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital work closely with nephrologists to help care for individuals who are coping with chronic kidney disease. We specialize in minimally invasive, image-guided techniques in the diagnosis of kidney disease as well as in providing and maintaining venous access for those patients who require dialysis. We place dialysis catheters in patients who are beginning longterm dialysis and can improve the function of surgically placed arterial-venous connections also used for dialysis.

For further information or to schedule a consultation with an interventional radiologist, please contact the interventional radiology department at 202-444-5478.

Kidney Biopsy

If your physician suspects you may have renal failure, he or she may ask for a small sample of one of your kidneys in order to assist in making that diagnosis. Interventional radiologists use ultrasound and, occasionally, CT to guide this procedure. We watch in real time as we place a needle through your skin and into your kidney and while we take a very small piece for analysis by a pathologist. This minimally invasive procedure takes less than half an hour and is performed with sedation.

Dialysis Access Placement and Maintenance

Patients whose kidneys to not function well enough may require longterm dialysis. While dialysis is often begun in the hospital, patients who need dialysis as an outpatient require specialized catheters (tubes) that are used in outpatient dialysis centers. These catheters are placed in a large vein in the chest through a tunnel under the skin. MedStar Georgetown interventional radiologists use ultrasound and x-ray imaging to guide the safe placement of these catheters and to ensure they are fitted properly for each individual patient. We also replace these catheters when necessary and can repair them if they stop functioning properly.

Many patients who have chronic, severe kidney failure will have a connection created between an artery and a vein, usually in an arm, which also can be used for dialysis. This connection, called a fistula, is created by a vascular surgeon. Interventional radiologists, however, can repair these fistulas if they stop flowing properly. We use x-ray guidance while removing clots that have blocked the vein or while widening areas of narrowing that are impeding flow, and can place stents, if necessary, to support the fistula.

Make an Appointment

For further information or to schedule a consultation with an interventional oncologist, please contact the interventional radiology department at