A regular KidneyBuzz.com viewer sent an email to our research team at firstname.lastname@example.org and asked, "My mother is going in to get her AV Fistula declotted often. Should I be worried?" The simple answer is, "Yes."
Recommended Reading: Feds Investigating Unnecessary Vascular Access Procedures On Dialysis Patients
Anytime a Dialysis patient's Dialysis Access (Lifeline) is compromised, it is cause for concern. Most patients know that Dialysis AV Fistula and Graft declotting is a minimally invasive, but quite painful procedure that is designed to help improve the blood flow in the Dialysis Access. However, it is alarming when that National Institutes of Health reports that the traditional declotting method of removing blockages from AV Fistulas, "does not increase the likelihood that the access will function adequately for long-term treatments." Therefore, what is a patient to do? The following tips may help Dialysis patients improve the function of their AV Fistulas, reduce clotting, and improve their overall health outcomes.
As you may recall, DaVita Inc. (Large Dialysis Organization) was investigated by the Federal Government for conducting "unnecessary Vascular Access Procedures on Dialysis patients." Hence, just because a clinic manager, nurse, or Patient Care Technician recommends that your Fistula needs to be declotted does not mean that it is always the case. Mistakes happen. Consider the following tips next time you have an issue with your AV Fistula:
1.) Walking: Regular light walking helps with blood circulation and improves the reduction of harmful blood clots. The Journal of the American Society of Nephrology recommends that Dialysis patients, who are able, try 20 minutes of walking at low-to-moderate speeds every second day of the week, with the intensity gradually increasing over 6 months.
2.) Green Veggies: Vitamin K is found in many green vegetables such as broccoli and lettuce. While vitamin K is essential to building strong bones and preventing heart disease, it is also well known for the important role it plays in blood clotting. Hence, if you are experiencing regular clotting leading to AV Fistula blockages, then consider discussing with your Healthcare Team the idea of reducing your intake of green leafy vegetables high in vitamin K.
3.) Just Ask: Make sure that declotting or more dramatic measures are the only options that you have. These should often be last resorts and not first choices. Sometimes, simply asking your Nephrologist for other alternatives to a declotting procedure can cause him/her to offer other measures before taking the more drastic and painful step of declotting.
How do you help to preserve the function of your AV Fistula? Share your response with the over 52,000 KidneyBuzz.com Facebook Fan Page Friends (click here). Also, follow the over 125,000 monthly viewers and visit KidneyBuzz.com every day for the latest breaking news and information which teaches those with Chronic Kidney Disease, Dialysis, Kidney Transplant, Diabetes and High Blood Pressure how to better manage and improve their lives.