Hemodialysis is a way to remove wastes
from the blood when your kidneys can no longer do the job. It is not a cure,
but it can help you live longer and feel better. It is a lifesaving treatment
when you have kidney failure. Hemodialysis is often called dialysis. Your
doctor created a place (called an access) in your arm for your blood to flow in
and out of your body during your dialysis sessions.
Your arm will
probably be bruised and swollen. It may hurt. The cut (incision) may bleed. The
pain and bleeding will get better over several days. You will probably need
only over-the-counter pain medicine. You can reduce swelling by propping your
arm on 1 or 2 pillows and keeping your elbow straight.
have stitches. These may dissolve on their own, or your doctor will tell you
when to come in to have them removed. You should also be able to return to work
in a few days.
You may feel some coolness or numbness in your
hand. These feelings usually go away in a few weeks. Your doctor may suggest
squeezing a soft object. This will strengthen your access and may make
hemodialysis faster and easier.
You should always be able to feel
blood rushing through the fistula or graft. It feels like a slight vibration
when you put your fingers on the skin over the fistula or graft. This feeling
is called a thrill or pulse.
This care sheet gives you a general
idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers
at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and
call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your
test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek
immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to
contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter P616 in the search box to learn more about "Hemodialysis Access: What to Expect at Home."
Current as of:
November 28, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.