An “undo” only alternative to steal syndrome

Posted by kitmus @kitmus, Apr 26, 2020

Doc suspects I have steal syndrome..cold painful hand, weak pulse at wrist, etc., very soon after I had fistula surgery. I am not yet on dialysis, however. Follow up is postponed due to limiting visits thanks to corona virus. I understand my doc to say only alternative is to “undo” the fistula. Then not do anything until I am on dialysis. If you have had experience with steal, I would appreciate knowing how it was handled. Thanks!

@kitmus, this does sound worrisome and confusing, especially since you cannot see your specialist. Steal Syndrome is more commonly associated with people on dialysis, correct? Can you remind me? You have chronic kidney disease, stage 4, I believe and also GI issues, right? Can you explain more about your understanding of the connection between the fistula surgery and your steal syndrome symptoms?


@kitmus What type of fistula did you have done? The fistula surgery is done in preparation for hemodialysis, in the arm. An artery is joined with a vein to create more blood flow to accommodate the transfer of fluids. The fistula can be a direct connection or link up between the two, or sometimes a graft fistula is done, where a plastic tube or cadaver artery is used to bridge the two. The second of the two types is less stable and can cause infection or rejection of the "bridge". There are times the fistula is not successful, and may need to be placed elsewhere [perhaps other arm] or chest catheter used [usually this is done if an emergency dialysis must be started, as fistulas take 4-6 weeks to heal enough to be used]. A chest catheter is not the preferred method for long-term dialysis. Sometimes the patient can opt for peritoneal dialysis. Of course, transplant is the best solution, but in the meantime, let us know what your doctors have told you your options are? If your team is anticipating readying you for dialysis, it seems like they would be insistent to get you in to see them. Please come back and tell us what happens? We care.

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