Preventing Fistula Ruptures: training course for patients

DV Poster 99DesI have just returned from the Renal Society of Australia’s annual conference, held on June 20 t0 22 this year at the Gold Coast, Queensland.  The conference is for renal professionals, nurses, clinicians, doctors and consultants. I went along because I was a co-author on one of the presentations.

The other author and presenter was Julie Tondello, a renal Associate Nurse Unit Manager at my Diaverum dialysis clinic in Diamond Valley, Victoria. The paper was called “Can your fistula rupture?” and was triggered by the ongoing posts, comments and queries about fistula rupture deaths on this blog.

As noted many times in the blog, the biggest problem with fistula ruptures are: lack of awareness that it can happen, how to prevent it and what to do if it happens.  Julie and the Diaverum team decided that they should do something to remedy this situation.

They conducted quality surveys to test the level of awareness of patients and staff in two clinics and found the lack of awareness, especially amongst patients, to be very real.  Awareness was much better amongst staff, but there was still room for improvement.

Julie then developed a training course for patients and trained over 40 individually. During the training, even long term patients said they were completely unaware of the problem or how to react and felt empowered by their new knowledge.

Diaverum then re-surveyed the patients.  The result was an overwhelming improvement in patient awareness. Staff training will follow the same process.

Julie’s presentation, inexpertly videoed by me, is below.  It was an excellent, well researched and inspiring presentation that won an extended ovation. It subsequently won both the Best Advanced Paper and the People’s Choice Award as the for best presentation at the conference.

Diaverum team after training

After Julie’s presentation, the Diaverum team demonstrated what you do if your fistula ruptures: Press down with your finger and Lift your arm above your head!

The next step will be for Diaverum to make the training course and materials available online for patients world-wide, to learn about and prevent these terrible ruptures.  Watch this space!

4 thoughts on “Preventing Fistula Ruptures: training course for patients

  1. My fistual quit working and is red and swollen for aleast a week now iam running a fever of 99.3 and is still sore but not as bad as it was before been really tired and feel horible. What to do i do?


    • Hi Daneen. It sounds like your fistula is blocked and may be infected. Your fistula is your lifeline: you need help to deal with your infection and to remove the blockage. Talk to the dialysis unit supervisor/your nephrologisdt/kidney doctor as soon as possible, and demand medical attention – ideally from surgeon who created your fistula. Don’t take no for an answer. Get an appointment quickly, before things get worse. Good luck! Greg


  2. Pingback: Training really can stop people from dying from of fistula bleeds | Big D and Me

  3. Awesome information and so timely, hope the information becomes available to dialysis community asap, both for the fistula owners and the nurses who work with the patients. As an educator and nurse on the floor, it is vital information all dialysis units should be delivering! Well done Diamond Valley staff and patients. Hats off to you👍


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