Are Lumps & Bumps On Chronic Kidney Disease-Dialysis Patients' AV Fistulas Dangerous Or Even Deadly?

A viewer emailed and stated, "I conduct Hemodialysis and I have been suffering with bumps and lumps on my AV Fistula. They are so unappealing. Should I be concerned about these bumps and lumps and is there a way to get rid of them?" 

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This is a very good question which many in the Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis community have, but there is little information available to provide a straight forward answer. What Chronic Kidney Disease patients who conduct Hemodialysis should know is that these Lumps, Bumps, Humps, or Big Welts are called Pseudoaneurysms which are developed from the repeated needle sticks that are necessary to perform Hemodialysis. Basically, repeated needle sticks in the AV Fistula may cause blood to leak from a tiny hole in a Dialysis patient's AV Fistula into the tissue, and this creates "pockets of contained blood that make the arm appear lumpy over the fistula," according to Vascular Specialists of Central Florida Inc. 

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Although the Pseudoaneurysms may appear “ugly-looking,” or cosmetically unappealing, the bumps on Chronic Kidney Disease patients' arms or legs are not necessarily medically concerning unless they become painful, affect Dialysis Treatments, cause severe irritation of the overlying skin, or reveal any other life altering symptoms. More specifically, Dialysis patients may consider seeing their Nephrologists if a Pseudoaneurysm is more than twice as big as their graft, hard to get the bleeding to stop after a treatment, or a patient's site bleeds sometimes all by itself even when they are not conducting their Hemodialysis Treatments. All of these symptoms, individually or together, may be signs of a Fistula blockage, clotting, infection or worse, and if left untreated can cause an AV Fistula to fail, rupture or even become deadly.

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Many Dialysis patients, especially women, choose to conduct Peritoneal Dialysis as opposed to Hemodialysis so that they may avoid Pseudoaneurysms and feel comfortable wearing short sleeve or sleeveless clothing. Often times, however, it is more of a self-conscious complication, and Dialysis patients themselves believe that the lumps are much more noticeable than they in fact are. "That’s what shirt sleeves are for," said Greg Collette (Dialysis Patient and Author of the Big D and Me). Beyond wearing long sleeve shirts to hide one's AV Fistula Humps, Chronic Kidney Disease patients who conduct Hemodialysis can help lower the risk of Pseudoaneurysms by rotating the Needle Sticking Sites where the fistula is accessed which may result in less trauma to the AV Fistula.

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Friends, to put things into a bit of perspective, as a Hemodialysis patient, be sure to concern yourself more with the health of your AV Fistula rather than its physical appearance. You should be able to determine the general health of your AV Fistula by gently pressing on it without any pain while feeling a strong thrill (buzz or pulsation). 

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Some of our viewers say, "I show mine as a badge of honor." Do you have Pseudoaneurysms? What do you do to hide them, or do you not worry to hide them? Join the discussion with over 16,000 other peers within the Chronic Kidney Disease community on the Facebook Fan page. Your voice is valued and we are waiting to hear your opinion. For the latest Breaking News and Information about how those with Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetes can better manage and improve their lives visit every day.

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