Management of life threatening bleeds from arteriovenous fistulae and grafts

A resource Patient Safety Alert has been issued to support the management of life threatening bleeds from arteriovenous fistulae and grafts.

Haemodialysis removes the waste products and extra fluid that build up in the blood of those whose kidneys no longer function properly and relies on easy access to a patient’s blood vessels. Preferred methods for permanent access are an arteriovenous fistula (AVF) or arteriovenous graft (AVG) that provide a connection between the artery and vein.

Blood loss from an AVF or AVG can usually be controlled by applying pressure to the site. However, rarely bleeds do not resolve and, due to the rate and volume of blood loss, become life threatening.

The alert signposts providers to resources produced jointly by The British Renal Society and the Vascular Access Society of Britain and Ireland to help staff, carers and patients recognise the warning signs. Providers are asked to ensure local guidance incorporates the advice in these resources, and to raise awareness of their availability.

Patient safety alerts are shared rapidly with healthcare providers via the Central Alerting System (CAS).

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