A fistula is made when an artery and a nearby vein are sewn together. This makes a vein bigger and stronger.
A fistula is needed for
hemodialysis. It’s used to send your blood to the hemodialysis machine and back to your body after your blood is cleaned.
Two needles are put into the fistula in your arm each time you have a hemodialysis treatment.
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:
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.
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: November 13, 2020
Author: Medicine SCN (Kidney Section), Alberta Health Services
This material is for information purposes only. It should not be used in place of medical advice, instruction, or treatment. If you have questions, talk with your doctor or appropriate healthcare provider. This information may be printed and distributed without permission for non-profit, education purposes. The content on this page may not be changed without consent of the author. Contact email@example.com.