Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is a Lifeline?

If you are a patient who suffers from End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), you are unable to filter waste from their blood. Therefore, you must have blood filtered mechanically through a process called hemodialysis.

The types of vascular access that are created are Hemodialysis Catheter, AV Fistula and AV Graft. These are considered your lifeline.  It is our goal as part of your health care team that we preserve and care for your lifeline.  If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call our office.

When should I have my Lifeline evaluated or checked?

You should have your lifeline evaluated if you notice something wrong with your lifeline or if you have problems in receiving your dialysis treatment. Below are some of the things to look for:

  • The nurse or technician is having difficulty sticking your access and/or takes several times to get a good stick.
  • You are clotted as indicated by no flow in the access by feeling for the thrill or listening for the bruit.
  • If you notice the nurse or tech pulling clots from your access
  • You bleed longer than usual after removing the needles at dialysis or even begin bleeding at home after removing the bandages.
  • The machine is alarming a lot during your treatment and the tech possibly has to adjust your needle to get good flows.
  • You have unusual or “new” pain in your access during your treatment or after your treatment.
  • You are told that you are not getting as good of a clean dialysis as you had previously.
  • Your catheter is not flowing well. Your dialysis unit nurse will usually let you know if this is a problem.
  • You have an infection in your catheter.
  • Low Kt/V or poor clearance

Can I drive myself to my appointment?

NO. As an added benefit to our patients being seen at Heights Surgery Center, we offer different levels of sedation and anesthesia while you are receiving your procedure. Therefore, it is unsafe to allow you to drive.

Please plan or arrange for your transportation to and from our office. If you need assistance with transportation, please notify our office and we will assist you.

How long will my procedure take?

You are very important to us and it is our goal to make sure that we are thorough with your appointment and procedure. Every procedure is different, and some may take as little as 15 minutes or as long as 2 hours. 

Will it hurt?

Our goal is to have you as comfortable as possible during your procedures. We offer anesthesia services as a benefit to help achieve this. As in any procedure, you may experience slight pressure or discomfort during or after your procedure. However, we will try our best to make sure you are as comfortable as possible.

Is there anything special I need to do before my appointment?

You are very important to us and we strive to make sure your appointment is scheduled as soon as possible. If you are coming in for a procedure, it is very important to follow the pre-op instructions that we give you.  Once we schedule your appointment, we will give you and your dialysis unit your pre-operative instructions depending on what time your appointment is scheduled.  We will be administering anesthesia or conscious sedation for your comfort, so it is very important to be fasting for a specific time prior to your appointment. 

What should I expect the day of my appointment?

As soon as you arrive to our facility, you will be given some paperwork that will need to be completed. One of our medical staff members will then review the paperwork with you and make sure all of your questions and concerns are answered. After you complete these, you will be assisted to the pre-operative room where we will gather all of your vitals and then be taken to the operating room. After your procedure, you will be taken to the recovery area where you will be monitored closely by our nurses. 

What should I expect after my apppointment?

We are so glad that we were able to assist and provide you with the highest level of care while you were with us! As we finish with your procedure and after your procedure, you might be given a follow up appointment.  We believe in an open line of communication with your dialysis unit and your physician. After your procedure, a detailed report is then sent to your dialysis unit and/or physician so that they are aware of the procedure that was performed on you. 

 

We have assigned medical staff to answer the phone 24-hours a day to assist you with any questions or concerns about your procedure

Can I contact your office after hours if I have any problems or questions after my procedure?

Yes, of course! We have assigned medical staff to answer the phone 24-hours a day to assist you with any questions or concerns.

What is the best way to care for my dialysis lifeline?

You should check your dialysis access lifeline daily for the thrill and bruit.  By becoming familiar with your regular thrill and bruit, you will know when something is irregular.

Here are some ways you can care for your access:

  • You should check your dialysis access daily for the “thrill” by feeling with your hand to make sure it’s buzzing (flowing).
  • You can use a stethoscope to listen for the “bruit”. The sound of a healthy bruit is a “swishing” sound in your access.
  • Never allow anyone to draw blood from your access arm or take a blood pressure on that arm.
  • Never sleep or lay on your arm.
  • Never care any heavy bags or purses on your access arm.
  • Do not wear tight bracelets or a tight watch on the wrist of the arm with your access.
  • If you have a catheter, do not EVER get it wet. You should not shower or take a bath or swim with your catheter.
  • Be careful the catheter is never “pulled” on. This can cause infection or irritation at the exit site.