Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can an AV fistula access cause your arm to fall asleep?"
Should the arm with my AV fistula access fall asleep a lot? I have had the access for over four years and been on dialysis for over five. I have PKD and I am on a transplant list.
I am sorry to hear that you are dealing with dialysis, and I hope that you receive a transplant soon! AV fistulas as you know are formed by connecting together a vein and an artery in the forearm. This is the stablest form of access that can be used for performing dialysis, and a good AV fistula can last for many years. Unfortunately, there are some side effects that can occur from having a AV fistula. Many of these side effect are related to the fact that a lot of the blood that usually flowed down the arm into the hand and back again gets instead diverted quickly into the vein side of the graft. The result is that blood flow to the hand is reduced, and this can cause several symptoms, including numbness in the hand, pain, or a sensation of coolness. If the numbness that you are experience is not too bad, then I think you can tolerate it and chalk it up to the fistula. However, sometimes these symptoms can be very severe and can require revising the fistula; if you are concerned about the degree of numbness, or if you have any pain or if your hand turns blue, then you should definitely talk to your kidney doctor.