Display Patient Information Leafelts

Arm Vein Mapping for Fistulas

Date issued: November 2019

For review: November 2021

Ref: B-429AE/Vascular/Arm Vein Mapping for Fistulas

PDF:  Arm vein mapping for fistulas final [pdf] 145KB


Why is this scan required?

A vein map of your arms is usually requested because your Doctors think that you may need to go on dialysis in the future. Or you may already be on dialysis but require a new access. For dialysis to occur the Doctors prefer you to have something called a fistula formed in one of your arms.

A fistula is just a connection between two blood vessels, a vein and an artery. This scan is required to look at the quality and size of the blood vessels in your arms so the Doctors can select the best site to form a fistula.

What is an Ultrasound or Doppler scan?

Ultrasound scans use very high frequency sound waves to build up pictures of inside the body. It is most commonly known as the type of scan used to look at unborn babies. It does not use any form of radiation and is considered completely safe.

Doppler is a form of ultrasound scan in which blood flow is detected; during a Doppler ultrasound scan you will frequently hear your pulse.

How do I prepare for the test?

There is no special preparation for this test. We will need to scan from neck level to wrist so you will need to take off your top (we can scan around a vest top/bra). Please remove any necklaces.

What does the test involve?

A Vascular Scientist will perform and report the scan. You will usually be asked to lie down on a couch. However the scan can be done with you sitting up in a chair if you prefer. Some ultrasound gel will be placed on the area to be scanned and a probe will be passed over the surface of the skin. At intervals you will hear your pulse.

The scan usually takes between 20 and 40 minutes to complete. There are no side effects and you can leave the department as soon as the scan is complete. There is no need to be accompanied to this scan but someone can come with you if you wish.

What happens next?

The Vascular Scientist will write a report on the scan results and send it to the doctor who requested the scan. The Vascular Scientist can comment on the scan findings with you but you will be able to discuss the results more fully with your Doctor at your next appointment.

Any further questions?

Please phone the Vascular Assessment Unit on 01752 439228 if you have any questions that you want answered before attending for the scan or if there is anything that you think we should know about before your scan.

The Vascular Scientist who does your scan will be happy to answer any further questions that you have when you have your scan.

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