Dialysis Management Santa Fe wants to let you know that dialysis access flow needs to be maintained above a certain level to allow adequate hemodialysis.
What is a Dialysis Fistula:
The surgeon creates one or more connections from the vein to an artery, usually in the arm, chest, or neck. There are two kinds of fistulas: arteriovenous (AV) and venovenous (VV).
In general, for best results, people choose to have their dialysis access point on their left arm because it allows them to operate the dialysis machine during treatment without interference from their other hand. Having it on the right side means they will need to put down whatever they are doing while they take care of dialyzing themselves and then pick up where they left off afterward.
Care of your fistula:
A fistula is an opening that has formed between a vein and an artery due to injury, disease, or surgical intervention. The fistula allows blood to flow from the artery into the vein, bypassing the need for an external device such as a dialysis catheter. Without adequate flow through the fistula, hemodialysis treatments cannot be performed. Below are several ways you can help maintain your fistula’s flow:
-Do not lift heavy objects that may increase blood pressure. If possible, ask someone else for help with this task.
-Wear loose clothing which will not restrict your arm movement and allow for full extension of your hand and wrist in order to avoid constricting the blood vessels in these areas.
A healthy diet during hemodialysis:
A healthy diet is important for all people, especially those who undergo hemodialysis. The most important nutrients include vitamins and minerals that are lost when undergoing dialysis. For example, potassium levels may fall during dialysis and the body will not have enough sodium because of the lack of salt intake from foods. Patients undergoing hemodialysis should be sure to drink plenty of fluids in order to avoid dehydration and/or electrolyte imbalance. The best fluids for a hemodialysis patient are water, sugar-free drinks with no caffeine like Crystal Light or lemonade, or non-caffeinated tea like Constant Comment. Avoid soft drinks with high levels of sugar or artificial sweeteners and alcohol as these can cause stomach irritation or result in electrolyte imbalance.
Tips for maintenance:
1. Check dialysate flow with a pressure gauge.
2. Perform KVO (keep vein open) for the fistula so that it does not collapse.
3. Monitor your dialysate level and make sure it is high enough to keep your fistula open.
4. Keep your needle at the right height so that the flow of dialysate through the needle matches your fistula’s flow rate or is slightly higher than this rate. 5. Clean the needle every time you change positions, use a new catheter, or finish an access site on the same side as your fistula. 6. Don’t start hemodialysis without first checking if you are able to maintain adequate flow through your fistula by using one of these methods: Use a pressure gauge, monitor the amount in your bucket, or ask someone else to observe it while you start hemodialysis.
Once you have dialysis access and are starting dialysis, it is important for you to maintain your flow. Here at Dialysis Management Santa Fe, we work with you on an individual basis to find the best way for you to maintain your fistula flow. We’ll help you identify any possible issues before they become a problem. We also offer training on how you can take care of yourself so that your fistula doesn’t close up or stop working properly. If there is anything we can do here at Dialysis Management Santa Fe that will help make your life easier, let us know!