A fistula is made when an artery and a nearby vein are sewn together. This makes a vein bigger and stronger.
Two needles are put into the fistula in your arm each time you have a hemodialysis treatment.
Where is the fistula and what does it look and feel like?
The fistula is under your skin so you may not be able to see it at first. You should feel a vibration when you put your fingers over the fistula. This is called a “thrill” or “buzz”. Over time, the vein gets bigger and you’ll be able to see it.
Exercise gets blood flowing to your arm. This may make:
When should you start exercising your arm?
It’s important to exercise your arm both before and after your surgery.
Start the exercises as soon as you find out you need a fistula. This may make the vein bigger which helps your fistula to develop.
Start doing the exercises 2 weeks after surgery when the areas on the skin that were cut (incision sites) have healed.
When should I stop exercising?
Keep doing these exercises until your nurse tells you to stop. You should stop doing the exercises and call your access nurse or dialysis unit if:
Lower arm fistula: Exercise 1
Lower arm fistula: Exercise 2
Upper arm Fistula: Exercise 1
Current as of: September 30, 2019
Author: Kidney Care Strategic Clinical Network, Alberta Health Services
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