CKD on Dialysis should make checking Fistula "Buzz" a Daily Practice

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You may recall the surgeon who created your fistula (an artery and vein joined) and/or Nephrologist telling you to check that your fistula is working by feeling for a "buzz." You were likely also told that if you cannot feel the buzz then you must contact your dialysis unit immediately.

  1. Check for fistula function (the buzz), first thing in the morning by placing two fingers over the site and feeling for a "buzz" sensation.
  2. Keep skin clean and always check for signs of infection such as swelling, redness, and soreness.
  3. You can always exercise the fistula arm to help improve the blood flow by squeezing a squash or tennis ball a few times a day, but do not lift anything heavy with your fistula arm. Also, do not sleep or put any undue pressure on your arm.
  4. It is recommended that you do not further restrict the blood flow by allowing anyone to take blood pressure readings or insert IV Needles into the fistula arm. Additionally, you should avoid wearing tight watches, jewelry, or snug sleeves on the fistula arm.

More than half of all dialysis patients are now using AV fistulas because it’s healthier, easier to maintain, and produce better results than other access methods. Remember that you are the guardian of your fistula, as many nurses and doctors in other hospitals and departments may not be as familiar with your fistula as

you are. suggests that you try to learn as much as you can about the fistula as soon as you possibly can by consulting your healthcare team and online resources such as Taking care of your fistula through strengthening exercises, cleanliness and checking daily for proper blood flow can make your dialysis treatments more manageable and effective.

References: "Fustula Patient's Guide to Hemodialysis." Cambridge Hospital. Cambridge University


Recommended Readings:

Suggestions to avoid problems with Buttonhole for CKD Population
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Obstruction in AV Fistula can cause Dialysis Patients to Lose Fingers or even a Hand