Post Arteriovenous Fistula Complications

Arteriovenous Fistula Complications that are related to the vascular access

The most frequent Arteriovenous Fistula complications in hemodialysis relate to the vascular access site where needles are inserted. Arteriovenous Fistula Complications include infection around the access area and formation of clots in the fistula. Usually, because they are in the fistula itself, these clots are not life threatening. The greatest danger is that clots may block the fistula and have to be removed surgically. Frequent clotting may require creating a back-up fistula at another site, to allow dialysis when one access is blocked.

Arteriovenous Fistula Complications that are not related to the vascular access

Other Arteriovenous Fistula complications from dialysis are not directly related to the vascular access. For example, when the kidneys have shut down, they produce very little urine. Because dialysis is the only way people with kidney failure can balance fluid levels in their bodies, hemodialysis can cause bloating and fluid overload, indicating that too much fluid remains in the body. If fluid overload occurs, patients develop swollen ankles, puffy eyes, weight gain, and shortness of breath. Fluid overload can cause heart and circulatory problems and fluctuations in blood pressure. Medications may be prescribed and changes in fluid intake or diet may be made to help balance fluids safely in conjunction with dialysis. Other problems that can occur during or after hemodialysis include:

  • Low blood pressure when fluid and wastes are removed from the blood too quickly;
  • Nausea due to changes in blood pressure;
  • Muscle cramps from the removal of too much fluid from the blood;
  • Headaches near the end of a dialysis session resulting from changes in the concentration of fluid and waste in the blood; or
  • Fatigue after treatment, lasting sometimes into the next day.

Expected outcome Post Arteriovenous Fistula

An AV fistula can usually be created and can function well with no adverse affects in a person whose veins are large enough. The amount of time it takes to develop the fistula after surgery (usually months) depends upon the size and strength of the patient’s blood vessels and on the person’s health and nutritional status. When the fistula develops, the thickened vein that has been joined to an artery can be seen in the armand a pulse can be felt in it. The early development of an AV fistula as access for long-term dialysis has been shown to improve the survival of patients with chronic renal failure and to reduce the chances of being hospitalized with complications. It also gives patients a better opportunity to choose self-dialysis as their treatment.