5 Things You Should Know About Dialysis Access Management

As per the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, over 661,000 Americans struggle with kidney failure. Approximately 468,000 of these persons are on hemodialysis. However, dialysis necessitates access for the blood to be cleaned as it travels through the dialysis machine. Considering that creating and managing dialysis access is such a vital aspect of your treatment, you should be aware of some crucial information regarding the various forms of access and how to care for them. In this post, you will gain deeper insights into San Antonio dialysis access management. Read on to learn more!

1.      There Are Various Forms of Vascular Access

·         Arteriovenous Fistula: It is also known as an AV fistula or simply a fistula. A vein and artery are surgically joined beneath the skin in the arm to provide access.

·         Graft: A graft is created by surgically connecting a vein and artery beneath the skin of the arm with a piece of soft tube.

·         Catheter: A catheter is a flexible tube that is inserted into a major vein in the chest or neck

2.      Each Type of Access Has Advantages and Disadvantages

v  Fistula

The fistula is deemed the ideal overall solution because of its longevity and a lower likelihood of infection and other access-related difficulties. A fistula enhances blood flow during therapy, resulting in stronger and wider veins; this improves hemodialysis treatment outcomes. A fistula, with adequate maintenance, could offer access for so many years

Unfortunately, fistulas are not appropriate for all patients. Furthermore, the fistula can take 6-8 weeks to mature following the initial operation. Meanwhile, you will utilize temporary access. Sometimes, the fistula might not mature, necessitating the provision of a new type of access.

v  Graft

A graft is a tube that provides perpetual access and can be accessed several times. Within 2-4 weeks of its formation, the graft can be used for hemodialysis; significantly shorter than a fistula. On the other hand, grafts carry a higher risk of infection and clotting than fistulas; hence, they are not ideal for all patients.

v  Catheter

For most patients, catheters are utilized as a temporary access device because using a catheter for an extended period might induce stenosis or blood vessel damage. Catheters are more likely to become infected and fail. Worse still, patients who use catheters cannot swim while they are on them. Nevertheless, catheters can be utilized right away instead of waiting for a fistula or graft to mature.

3.      Hemodialysis Access Requires Specialized Care

Your dialysis staff will teach you care tips for your access. You must heed their instructions to avoid infection and safeguard your access. For instance, when using catheters, you should maintain the region and the dressings clean and dry. Your doctor should cleanse the region at every dialysis treatment and change the dressing. If you need to change your dressing between sessions, your doctor will provide you with the necessary supplies.

Wash grafts and fistulas with antibacterial soap daily, particularly before dialysis treatments. During these sessions, your dialysis staff must rotate needles. At the access site, do not scrape or pick at the skin. Similarly, check for warmth, redness, or indications of infection every day.

4.      There Are A Few Things You Can Do to Keep Your Access Working Properly

The above-mentioned care suggestions are pretty basic. Your care staff must provide you with more thorough instructions that should be properly followed for your access to continue to operate. These instructions might include:

ü  Do not exert undue pressure on the access

ü  Do not carry heavy items

ü  Do not wear tight clothes or jewelry on your access arm

ü  Carry only light items

ü  Examine your pulse multiple times daily

ü  Do not use blood pressure cuffs on your access arm

ü  Do not sleep with your body or head resting on your access arm

ü  Do not draw blood from your access arm

5.      When Should You Seek Help for Access Issues?

You should contact your specialist or dialysis center if:

ü  You cannot feel the blood flowing through your access during one of your daily checkups

ü  You notice any signs of clotting or infection

ü  You experience breakthrough bleeding after dialysis that persists for over half-an-hour

It is frightening enough to learn that your kidneys are failing and that you will need to start dialysis. The last thing on your mind is how and where you will locate a professional who can adequately prepare you for daily life-saving therapies that could last weeks or months. Identifying the ideal access for your requirements, then creating it is the specialty of the I-Vascular Center. Arrange an appointment today through mobile or book online to enjoy expert care from some of the best in the field.