Skip to main content

Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

Hemodialysis access - self care

Description

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.

Alternative Names

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

Prevent Infection in Your Access

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.

To prevent infection:

  • Avoid bumping or cutting your access.
  • DO NOT lift anything heavy with the arm with the access.
  • Use your access for hemodialysis only.
  • DO NOT let anyone take your blood pressure, draw blood, or start an IV in the arm with the access.

Keep Blood Flowing Through Your Access

To keep blood flowing through the access:

  • DO NOT sleep or lie on the arm with the access.
  • DO NOT wear clothes that are tight around the arms or wrists.
  • DO NOT wear jewelry that is tight around the arms or wrists.

Checking Your Access

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.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your health care provider if:

  • You have any signs of infection, including redness, pain, pus, drainage, or you have a fever over 101°F (38.3°C).
  • You do not feel a pulse at your access.

References

National Kidney Foundation. Hemodialysis Access: What You Need to Know. Available at: www.kidney.org/sites/default/files/11-50-0216_va.pdf. Accessed October 16, 2015.

Yeun JY, Ornt DB, Depner TA. Hemodialysis. In: Taal MW, Chertow GM, Marsden PA, et al., eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 64.

Review Date:9/22/2015
Reviewed 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, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

We Appreciate Your Feedback!
1. Did you find this information useful?
         Yes
         No
2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?
         Yes
         No