Tushar Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP, DNB (Nephrology) is passionate about improving dialysis vascular access care, both in the United States and around the world. He has been actively involved with training and educating the nephrology community, spreading awareness about the importance of a dialysis access.
As a consultant to the Fistula First Catheter Last (FFCL) initiative for the ESRD National Coordinating Center (NCC), Dr. Vachharajani is co-leader of the FFCL Access Monitoring Workgroup and has been actively involved in developing access monitoring tools for patients and professionals. The educational materials focus on supporting the renal community in improving vascular access outcomes. The Atlas of Dialysis Vascular Access, developed by Dr. Vachharajani, is an excellent resource and guide for managing fistulas, grafts and tunneled catheters. The information provided is informative and comprehensive.
He received his medical degree at Bombay University and completed his nephrology fellowship at Bombay Hospital Institute of Medical Sciences. He then trained at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London and at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he completed additional fellowships in Interventional Nephrology and Molecular and Cell Physiology. Dr. Vachharajani is a professor and Chief of Nephrology at the W. G. (Bill) Hefner Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salisbury, North Carolina, and holds several leadership positions with national and international societies. As Chair of the Interventional Nephrology Committee of the International Society of Nephrology, and Editor of ISN Education (www.theisn.org/education), his primary goal is to provide easy access to educational resources. He serves as a Councilor of the American Society of Diagnostic and Interventional Nephrology (ASDIN), and is Chair of the International Committee of ASDIN.
He also serves as a member of the Interventional Nephrology Advisory Group of the American Society of Nephrology and as an International Liaison Officer for the Kidney Education Foundation (KidneyEducation.com), a free online patient education resource provided in several languages.
Dr. Vachharajani advocates for frequent physical examinations to monitor patients’ vascular access. “Physical examination is a simple, cheap, reliable, and easy-to-learn access monitoring tool,” he said. “Patients, dialysis staff, and clinicians can easily master the art of physical examination. Patients can be educated and empowered with this valuable tool to help them actively participate in their own care.”
Research has shown that active involvement by patients in their medical care often leads to better mental and physical health, and improved quality of life, according to Dr. Vachharajani. “Access monitoring by patients and their relatives [and care partners] can be performed daily [in addition to] three times per week by the dialysis staff, thus providing continuous evaluation and a higher likelihood of earlier detection of a problem within a dialysis access,” he said.
Ask the Experts is a continuing series of profiles and interviews, focusing on topics of interest to professionals in the kidney community.