Arteriovenous Fistula (AVF) is a type of access where the vein is formed to the artery surgically at the forearm or upper arm of the patient.
The site ensures that there’s extra blood flow extracted with extra pressure for effective dialysis to occur.
Once a patient is diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, a dialysis catheter is inserted for Haemodialysis.
However, it’s long time use is associated with complications hence a patient is advised to go for an arteriovenous Fistula. Arteriovenous Fistula is created and given 2-3 months to develop and mature in order to be used for Haemodialysis.
What are the Advantages of using arteriovenous Fistula over catheter?
- Provides efficient blood flow for Haemodialysis.
- Lasts longer compared to other types of access used for Haemodialysis
- There are reduced chances of infections
- There are reduced chances of clotting or clotting problems.
How do you care for the AVF?
- Check for any signs of infection i.e redness, tenderness pus discharge
- Keep the access clean at all times
- Use the AVF access for Haemodialysis only
- Be careful not to bump or cut the access
- Always check the thrill on the access daily.
- Avoid wearing jewellery on the access arm
- Avoid lifting heavy objects
- Do not allow anyone to put a BP cuff on the access arm.
AVF treatment is rare because the field has very few experts and therefore only few health facilities may manage to offer the services.
In Bungoma for example, Arteriovenous Fistula services are now available at LifeCare Hospital which is equipped with experienced staff and the service is fully covered by NHIF.
At Lifecare Hospital, the facility is equipped with 8 special beds with enough staff to handle all the patients at the right time.
According to Dr Litema, an expert with vast experience from Eldoret who performs the procedure at Lifecare Hospitals Bungoma says one session takes up to 4hours to clean the blood.