Kidney Disease Research Updates
NIH Videos Help Health Care Providers Answer Questions about Dialysis
First Series Focuses on Arteriovenous (AV) Fistula Surgery
Health care providers can now take advantage of a new video series to help them talk with patients about preparing for dialysis treatments. The eight short videos cover some of the most common questions patients ask about surgery to create an AV fistula, a connection between an artery and a vein in the arm that allows adequate blood flow for dialysis. The videos were produced by the National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP) and the Fistula First Breakthrough Initiative (FFBI).
“We know that it is sometimes difficult for primary care providers to talk with patients about the different aspects of dialysis preparation,” said Andrew S. Narva, M.D., F.A.C.P., director of the NKDEP. “We hope these videos will help providers feel more comfortable discussing fistula placement so those important conversations can happen earlier in the disease process.”
A normal vein does not allow blood to flow rapidly enough to and from the dialysis machine, and repeated needle punctures would harm the vein. “We encourage patients to have a fistula placed in an arm several months before we anticipate they will need dialysis,” Narva said. Advance placement allows time for the fistula to heal, so it is ready for the first dialysis treatment.
“It is important for patients and their families to understand the need for permanent vascular access,” said Brandy Vinson, FFBI project manager. “Fistulas provide such access, so we are pleased to have developed this video series with NKDEP. It helps us carry out our mission to meet patient and provider needs.”
Each 1- to 2-minute video features Betty Garrison, an actual patient who is facing dialysis, and Narva, a board-certified nephrologist who answers her questions.
“Patients facing dialysis need to understand what is happening to them and to their bodies,” said Garrison. “I was still a little fearful after talking with Dr. Narva, but I had my surgery because I knew it would help me in the long run. My fistula will be ready when I need to start dialysis.”
The video series is featured on the NKDEP and FFBI websites. To access the videos on the NKDEP site, visit the AV Fistula Placement section of www.nkdep.nih.gov/professionals/providereducation/index.htm.
On the FFBI site, the videos are located at www.fistulafirst.org/ProviderEducationalVideos.aspx.
The NKDEP, an initiative of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), aims to raise awareness of the seriousness of kidney disease, the importance of testing those at high risk, and the availability of treatment to prevent or slow kidney disease. For more information about the NKDEP, see www.nkdep.nih.gov.
FFBI Coalition members include the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Medicare End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Networks, and a broad representation of other organizations from the renal community. The coalition works to ensure every suitable hemodialysis patient will receive the optimal form of vascular access—in most cases, an AV fistula. Learn more about the FFBI at www.fistulafirst.org.
The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, part of the NIDDK, has fact sheets and easy-to-read booklets about kidney disease. For more information or to obtain copies, visit www.kidney.niddk.nih.gov.
NIH Publication No. 11–4531