Hemodialysis access - self care
An access is needed for you to get hemodialysis. Using the access, blood is removed from your body, cleaned by a dialyzer, then returned to your body.
Usually the access is put in a person's arm. But it can also go in your leg. It takes a few weeks to a few months to get an access ready for hemodialysis.
Taking good care of your access helps make it last longer.
Kidney failure - chronic-hemodialysis access; Renal failure - chronic-hemodialysis access; Chronic renal insufficiency - hemodialysis access; Chronic kidney failure - hemodialysis access; Chronic renal failure - hemodialysis access; Dialysis - hemodialysis access
Prevent Infection in Your Access
Keep your access clean. Wash the access with soap and water every day to decrease your risk of infection.
Do not scratch your access. If you scratch open your skin at the access, you could get an infection.
To prevent infection:
Keep Blood Flowing Through Your Access
To keep blood flowing through the access:
Checking Your Access
Check the pulse in your access arm. You should feel blood rushing through that feels like a vibration. This vibration is called a "thrill."
Have the nurse or technician check your access before every dialysis.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your health care provider if:
National Kidney Foundation website. Hemodialysis access. www.kidney.org/atoz/content/hemoaccess. Updated 2015. Accessed September 4, 2019.
Yeun JY, Young B, Depner TA, Chin AA. Hemodialysis. In: Yu ASL, Chertow GM, Luyckx VA, Marsden PA, Skorecki K, Taal MW, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 63.
Review Date: 7/16/2019
Reviewed By: Walead Latif, MD, Nephrologist and Clinical Associate Professor, Rutgers Medical School, Newark, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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