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  • AV Fistula

    I have been on dialysis for 8 months I have a central venous catheter. At DaVita they wanted me to get a AV fistula and of course the infection and they pushed and pushed so I got one my question is now they act not so impressed what happens when this doesn't work can I keep the catheter or will they try to force me to get another av fistula?

  • #2
    Keep your central venous catheter until you know the fistula is working properly. They can't make you get a fistula. They'll tell you it's better for you, but I kept my central venous catheter for 1.5 years, all the while DaVita telling me I needed a fistula. I refused to get the fistula. Eventually, I went on PD, but even then, I kept the central venous catheter until I knew the PD catheter worked and I was trained on it. If you have an AV fistula and it doesn't work and you don't want to switch to PD, then a central venous is what you needed anyway. Good luck!


    • #3
      Typically they won't pull your catheter until: 1) your surgeon tells you that you can use the fistula (about 2 months), 2) you have had at least one week of dialysis runs using the fistula (and it works well), and 3) everyone is in agreement that it is safe to pull. I know I had to go back to the surgeons office for the final pulling of my catheter.

      At first I was very reluctant to get a fistula, but now I am glad I did. It is nice to be free to take a shower, go swimming, and wear warm shirts to dialysis!!

      Good Luck to you!


      • #4
        I am also glad I had my central catheter removed. I was also afraid of Infection and bathing was a bother. There was also pain there when I accidently pushed pressure against it. The only gripe I have with my fistula is the unsightly bumps in my arm.


        • #5
          I absolutely LOVE my fistula! I've done everything possible to avoid having to resort back to a catheter. Unfortunately, I have (what I call) chunky blood and my fistula has become completely clotted twice in the past four years and has been functioning poorly enough that I required angioplasty, about 6 or 7 other times, to "clean" it out. In May, last year, I had a heart attack during the angioplasty and I've STILL gone back for two more angios, since then... 😃 That's how much I love my fistula! I had a graft "installed" in my forearm, about 5 years ago, but it clotted up, completely, within days of having it put in. The vascular surgeon did a thrombectomy but it was clotted, again, within another couple of days. After some consideration, he placed my fistula quite high on the inside of my upper arm. It's definitely not as convenient as the graft would have been - it definitely makes cannulation a bit trickier and I have to use extensions, on the needles, to be able to reach the ends of the needles for rinse back, flushing and pulling, for example, but it sure beats that darn central catheter sticking out of my chest. I couldn't have cared less that it was visible or that I have two permanent "holes" on my chest from having had them...what I did care about, was the horrible itching I experienced, all the time, at my catheter site and the inability to swim or even shower like a normal person. lol
          I did PD, prior to starting HD, and it got to the point that it wasn't an effective enough treatment, so it's not an option, anymore. I'm hoping to get a transplant but my live donor was just "ruled out", after two years of positive testing, because of her results on the 24 hour blood pressure monitoring test so, for now, it's HD for me and all I can do is hope that I can keep my fistula working for the long haul!


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