I have been on dialysis for 6 years and now My fistula has stated clotting and I need to get a catheter never had one so now I am wondering if I should continue dialysis. Never had a catheter can anyone tell me what its like?

Where is your fistula? Have you only had 1? My Dad has had 2 arm fistulas, 1 arm graft and now he has graft in his leg. The arm fistulas lasted about 2 1/2 years. The graft he had in his arm lasted 8 year. He’s had the graft in his leg for about 3 months. Can’t they do another fistula or graft somewhere else?

He’s never had a catheter. He’s been on dialysis for 13 years.

Good Luck!

Like anything in this business, a catheter definetly requires some getting used too. As a female, I had to make some changes to the bras I wore (some were less comfortable then others), and the other thing was, if you dialyize in hospital, you may have to dress accordingly, in the sense that the nurses need to be able to access your cathether to do your treatments. I have seen many men just lift up their shirts, but for women obvsioulsy, it is a little different. Button down shirts are great, or something with a V-neck.

The other thing to consider is bathing. Although I seriously recommend you speak with your medical team, I was advised not to shower, and only to bathe (i.e. could not submerge cathether to water), inluding swimming. That being said, I have met many a patients, who using different precautions, did shower regularly, but were VERY diligent about changing their dressings immediately thereafter.

In my experience, my dressing was changed once a week (although sometimes a little more frequently if it was really hot out).

I hope this hasn’t seemed too negative, but in the few years that I had a central line, these were the only issues that I encountered.

I would obviously discourage you from stopping dialysis, but of course that is only a decision you can make.

Best of luck,

Kidney Mom

Is there any possible way to save your fistula by declotting it or revising it? Here are a couple of references that include suggestions of ways to limit access problems.

I am now with a catheter and would like some helf on how to care for it. I am on home dialysis.

Hi unregistered. Since you posted this to the HD for Patients board, I’m assuming that you are doing hemodialysis (not PD) at home? You can find some information about catheter care in the Vascular Access module of Kidney School at, and some information on the National Kidney Foundation website at

Please do ask your home training nurse about this as well. He or she can give you the information about how your clinic would like you to care for your catheter–and practices do change from one clinic to another.

Perhaps some other folks who visit this site and have catheters can explain how they learned how to care for theirs, too.

my fistula is no longer working. this is my third day with a catheter. Anyone else using a catheter and for how long? What problems have you faced? What benefits?