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Arteriovenous Fistula Creation For Hemodialysis


You may have mild bruising or swelling near your wound. Your AVF will take 2 to 3 months to heal. After this time, it can be used for hemodialysis.


Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
  • You cough up blood.
  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You cannot stop the bleeding from your wound even after you hold firm pressure for 10 minutes.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • Your arm, hand, or fingers are cold, numb, blue, or pale.
  • Your bruise suddenly gets bigger.
  • You have trouble moving your arm, hand, or fingers.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • Your wound is red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You have nausea or are vomiting.
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or you have a rash.
  • You cannot feel a thrill over your AVF.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) total of acetaminophen in one day.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Care for your wound as directed:

Remove your bandage in 48 hours or as directed. Carefully wash around the wound with soap and water. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty.

If bleeding from your wound occurs:

Apply firm, steady pressure to stop the bleeding. Apply pressure with a clean gauze or towel for 5 to 10 minutes. Call 911 if bleeding becomes heavy or does not stop.

Activity guidelines for your arm with the AVF:

  • Do not lift anything heavier than 5 pounds for 48 hours or as directed.
  • Do not push or pull with your arm.
  • Do not sleep with your arm tucked under you.
  • Do not carry a purse or bags with your arm.
  • Do not wear tight-fitting clothing or jewelry over your arm or hand.
  • After 48 hours, do gentle arm exercises as directed. These exercises will help your AVF heal.

Feel for a thrill over your AVF:

Your healthcare provider will tell you how often to feel for a thrill. Place your index finger and second finger over your wound. You should feel a vibration.

Apply ice:

Apply ice on your wound for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel before you apply it to your skin. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.

Elevate your arm:

Elevate your arm with the AVF above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your arm on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.

Tell healthcare providers that you have an AVF.

Tell them not to do IVs, blood draws, and blood pressure readings in your arm with the AVF. Do not get vaccinations, such as a flu shot, in your arm with the AVF. These actions can help prevent infection, bleeding, or damage to your AVF.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Arteriovenous Fistula Creation For Hemodialysis (Discharge Care)

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