Understanding the Maintenance of The Dialysis Access Port
There is no denying that dialysis is a miracle breakthrough, which can be used to combat renal failure. In the past, there was little to no hope for these individuals. With the use of machines, it is possible for medical professionals to remove excess water and waste for the patient’s blood. Typically, this procedure is used to help replicate the functions of the kidneys in individuals, who have lost the natural kidneys functions. The treatment is capable of improving the kidney’s capacities, regardless of the severity of the failure. For instance, it may be used in acute cases, but it can also be used for more severe situations. Of course, this type of treatment, although highly effective, comes with great responsibility.
Different Types of Dialysis
It is imperative to understand that there is actually an assortment of different dialysis treatments, which differ significantly. In general, the Hemodialysis is the most common and requires the patient to undergo four-hour treatment several times a week. The second most common is peritoneal dialysis, which requires the patient to undergo the treatment approximately four to five times per day. And finally, the patient may decide to go through the hemofiltration route, which is very similar to hemodialysis, but no dialysate is used.
Hemodialysis – Types of Access
Since the hemodialysis is the most common. It is important for the patient to get to know the specific types of access ports that many be utilized. With this specific type of dialysis, the medical professional can select from three different accesses to reach the blood, including a synthetic graft, an arteriovenous fistula or an intravenous catheter. In general, the patient’s specific situation will guide the decision, but it is possible for each to have multiple access points. Regardless of choice, the patient will be required to undergo an operation, in order to implement the access point.
- AV Fistula – The process joins an artery and vein, within your arm.
- AV Graft – A soft tube is utilized to join the two.
- Catheter – A soft tube is inserted in a large vein, with the neck being the usually target.
Most medical professionals agree that the AV fistula is the best option, with the graft following close behind. In general, the catheter should only be used for temporary access.
Maintenance for the Port
Overall, it is imperative for the patient to learn proper maintenance for taking care of their port and to help prevent infections and clotting. There are a number of different actions that should be taken, in order to keep your access clean. Remember that the dressing should remain clean and dry, at all times. When you visit your dialysis center, it is imperative to ensure that your care team takes the time to change the dressing, while inspecting the insertion site. This will help to cut down on the potential risk of infections and future problems.
Of course, you should remember that you’re responsible for caring for the port at home. If you’re a caregiver, you should ensure that the patient fully understands how to care for the access and change the dressing on his or her own. As the patient, it will become your responsibility to learn how to properly change the dressing. Also, make sure to have an emergency dressing kit stored away at home, in case complications occur.
Remember to avoid getting the port wet! Do not swim or shower, but it possible to take baths, as long as you take extra precautions to protect the catheter. The caps or clamps should be closed tightly, at all times. It is crucial to prevent air from entering the access port! When cleaning, everyone nearby should protect himself or herself, by wearing a mask over their facial orifices.
Know the Signs of an Infection
While you may have followed all of the catheter care instructions perfectly, it is possible for infections and clots to occur. In order to handle the problem properly, you should familiarize yourself with the signs of an infection. When you recognize these problems, you will be able to instantly take action, notify your care team and find a solution to the problem immediately. This will ensure that proper action is taken, which will help to prevent future complications.
- Fevers and Chills
- Noticeable drainage from the exit site
- The site is red and tender
- Feeling weak or ill
In general, there are a number of potential treatments, which can help fight infections. It is possible for your medical professional to apply an ointment to the infection site, in hopes of stopping it from spreading. However, if drainage is visible, you will likely need to take antibiotics. If the infection has noticeable entered the blood, the medical doctor will most likely opt to inject antibiotic into your bloodstream, which will help prevent the infection from worsening.
Work with Your Medical Professional
In order to make sure that you’re properly caring for your access, it is crucial to work alongside your medical professional. They’ll be able to supply you with a treatment plan, which should be followed strictly. Also, make sure that you begin keeping track of your Kt/V and URR numbers. Supply this information to your dialysis team and they will be able to ensure that you’re receiving the appropriate treatment. If you have any concerns or feel that something may be out of the ordinary, it is imperative to speak with your doctor or dialysis team. They’ll be able to address the problem and treat potential complications.