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What is an arteriovenous fistula?

An AV fistula is a passage between a vein and an artery. It is required to be formed surgically in chronic kidney disease patients for dialysis access. It requires advance planning because a fistula takes a while after surgery to develop. A surgeon creates an aAV fistula by connecting an artery directly to a vein, frequently in the forearm

What is an arteriovenous graft?

  • If you have small veins making fistula formation difficult, you can get a vascular access that connects an artery to a vein using a synthetic tube, or graft, implanted under the skin in your arm. A graft doesn’t need to develop as a fistula does, so it can be used sooner after placement, often within 2 or 3 weeks. Grafts tend to have more complications like clotting and infection and need replacement sooner

What is a venous catheter?

If your kidney disease has progressed quickly, you may need a venous catheter as a temporary access. A catheter is a tube inserted into a vein in your neck, chest, or leg near the groin. It has two chambers to allow a two-way flow of blood. Catheters are not ideal for permanent access as they can clog, become infected, and cause narrowing of the veins in which they are placed.

What are the complications of AV fistula?

All three types of vascular access av fistula, av graft, and venous catheter can develop complications. The most common complications are access infection and low blood flow due to blood clotting.

Venous catheters are most prone to develop infection and clotting problems that may require medication and catheter removal or replacement.

AV grafts can also develop both these complications. In case of clotting, av graft may require angioplasty ( a procedure to widen the narrowed segment) or replacement.

These complications are less common in av fistulas.

How should i take care of my vascular access?

There are several ways with which you can take care of your Vascular Access. Some of the foot care methods are mentioned below:
  • Make sure your nurse or technician checks your access before each treatment.
  • Keep your access clean at all times.
  • Use your access site only for dialysis.
  • Be careful not to bump or cut your access.
  • Don't let anyone put a blood pressure cuff on your access arm.
  • Don't wear jewelry or tight clothes over your access site.
  • Don't sleep with your access arm under your head or body.
  • Don't lift heavy objects or put pressure on your access arm.
  • Check the pulse in your access every day.
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