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Care of a surgically created arteriovenous fistula

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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care of a surgically created arteriovenous fistulas

The following advice should be given to patients with newly created arteriovenous fistula:

  • protect the arm and the fistula from direct trauma for the first few days
  • avoid overuse of the arm with the fistula
  • avoid driving, and heavy lifting for the first two weeks
  • perform strengthening exercises, such as squeezing a rubber ball for 2-3 minutes, 2-3 time each waking hour in the first few weeks

For long term care of the arteriovenous fistula advice patients about the following:

  • stress on the importance of maintaining cleanliness of the puncture site and the skin surrounding the fistula
  • check for "thrills" and listen for bruit daily
    • thrills - a continuous vibration or buzz can be felt when palpating the fistula with at least three fingers or the upper palm of the hand
    • a stethoscope can be used to listen to a bruit
  • avoid falling asleep on the affected arm
  • avoid tight fitting clothes, jewellery, or watches on the affected arm

Healthcare professionals should avoid

  • measuring blood pressure in the arm with the fistula
  • drawing blood from the arm with the fistula (but blood can be taken from the veins at the back of the hand) (1)


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