Optimizing vascular access outcomes remains an ongoing challenge for clinical nephrologists. All other things being equal, fistulas are preferred over grafts, and grafts are preferred over catheters. Mature fistulas have better longevity and require fewer interventions, as compared with mature grafts. The major hurdle to increasing fistula use is the high rate of failure to mature of newly created fistulas. There is a desperate need for enhanced understanding of the mechanisms of failure to mature and the optimal type and timing of interventions to promote maturity. Grafts are prone to frequent stenosis and thrombosis. Surveillance for graft stenosis with preemptive angioplasty may reduce graft thrombosis, but recent randomized clinical trials have questioned the efficacy of this approach. Graft stenosis results from aggressive neointimal hyperplasia, and pharmacologic approaches to slowing this process are being investigated in clinical trials. Catheters are prone to frequent thrombosis and infection. The optimal management of catheter-related bacteremia is a subject of ongoing debate. Prophylaxis of catheter-related bacteremia continues to generate important clinical research. Close collaboration among nephrologists, surgeons, radiologists, and the dialysis staff is required to optimize vascular access outcomes and can be expedited by having a dedicated access coordinator to streamline the process. The goal of this review is to provide an update on the current status of vascular access management. Copyright © 2007 by the American Society of Nephrology.