An access is needed for you to get hemodialysis. Using the access, blood is removed from your body, cleaned by a dialyzer, then returned to your body.
Usually the access is put in a person's arm. But it can also go in your leg. It takes a few weeks to a few months to get an access ready for hemodialysis.
Taking good care of your access helps make it last longer.
Keep your access clean. Wash the access with soap and water every day to decrease your risk of infection.
Do not scratch your access. If you scratch open your skin at the access, you could get an infection.
Check the pulse in your access arm. You should feel blood rushing through that feels like a vibration. This vibration is called a “thrill.”
Have the nurse or technician check your access before every dialysis.
Call the doctor if:
Kidney failure - chronic-hemodialysis access; Renal failure - chronic-hemodialysis access; Chronic renal insufficiency - hemodialysis access; Chronic kidney failure - hemodialysis access; Chronic renal failure - hemodialysis access; dialysis - hemodialysis access
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC). Vascular access for hemodialysis. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/vascularaccess/vascularaccess_508.pdf. Accessed September 8, 2013.
Silva MB Jr, Choi L, Cheng CC. Peripheral arterial occlusive disease. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery: The Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:1725-1784.
Updated by: Charles Silberberg, DO, Private Practice specializing in Nephrology, Affiliated with New York Medical College, Division of Nephrology, Valhalla, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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