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Many people see vein specialists in Houston for issues like spider veins and venous insufficiency. However, you may be advised to visit a vein treatment center for fistula maintenance if you have a medical condition in which blood needs to be removed through dialysis. Read on to learn about what to expect during a fistulogram procedure for fistula maintenance.

Before Your Fistulogram

A fistulogram is an x-ray procedure that uses contrast dye to examine the blood flow inside your fistula or graft. The purpose of this procedure is to ensure that there is no narrowing or blockages within the fistula. You will be asked not to eat or drink after midnight before your appointment. After checking in, the procedure will be explained by a radiologist, and you will have a chance to ask any questions that you may have. After changing into a hospital gown, you will be given an I.V. for the administration of sedatives during the procedure.

During Your Fistulogram

Once you’re ready for the fistulogram, you’ll be asked to lie on a table that will be surrounded by machines. You may be provided with medications and oxygen to promote your relaxation and comfort. After numbing the area around the fistula, your doctor will place a small catheter in the fistula and inject the contrast dye. If any narrowing is detected, a device will be inserted to stretch the narrowed area. You may be given more medication for this step. After the treatment is complete, 1 or 2 stitches may be placed to close the puncture site, and the catheter will be removed.

After Your Fistulogram

Once the procedure is complete, you can expect to wait in a recovery area for 1 to 2 hours, allowing a nurse to monitor your condition and ensure that the fistula area does not bleed. After this, you will be able to go home or proceed to the dialysis unit. You will need to have someone drive you home or to your dialysis appointment following your fistulogram.