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Taking Care of Your Vascular Access

By Susan Eymann, MS18 Apr 2018

As an end-stage-renal disease (ESRD) hemodialysis patient, your access is your link to life. Knowing the blood flow in your access by Transonic Hemodialysis Monitor measurements is critical for your well being. But what can you do if you discover that your flows are trending down? First, you should talk with your nephrologist about your flows and solicit his or her feedback.


But what more can one do? It takes only a minute each day to check your access to safeguard your lifeline.

First LOOK at your access. Check to see if the skin over the access is all one color and looks like the skin around it. If the skin is red, swollen or draining or if there are skin bulges, or the skin is shiny, bleeding or peeling, contact your dialysis provider immediately

Next, LISTEN to your access. When you place your access next to your ear, the swooshing (bruit) sound that you hear should be the same it was the last time you checked it. You can also use a stethoscope to listen to the bruit. If that sound gets weaker or is absent, it may indicate that your access isn’t working as well as it should and you should alert your dialysis care provider.

Finally, FEEL your access. As blood flows through the access, it will produce a vibration or buzz (thrill) that you can feel. If the beat is stronger than a normal pulse or if your fingers placed lightly on the access rise and fall with each beat rather than just moving slightly, again you should alert your dialysis provider.

Additional tips to safeguard your access include the following:

    • Do not take blood pressure or allow an IV in your arm or leg with the access.
    • Do not sleep or lie on your arm or leg with the access or when it is bent.
    • Do not wear tight clothing or jewelry on your arm or leg with the access.
    • Do not carry a purse or bag or wear a watch on your arm with an access.
    • Do not rest heavy objects on your arm or leg with the access.

To see how dialysis patient Lori Clark takes care of her access, watch her video Transonic Monitoring for Dialysis Patients at:


As Lori Clark states, “If you take care of your access, it takes care of you.”

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