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Papers of the Week

2021 May 07

Semin Dial

Pain on arteriovenous fistula cannulation: A narrative review.


Kosmadakis G, Amara I, Costel G
Semin Dial. 2021 May 07.
PMID: 33962481.


Pain on arteriovenous fistula (AVF) cannulation is a rather persistent problem in the daily hemodialysis practice. Its prevalence varies from 12% to even 80% depending on the definition and the pain-assessment tools and it affects the quality of life of hemodialysis patients. It is associated with fear of the cannulation process, the decision of hemodialysis from an AVF and sometimes the hemodialysis itself. In this narrative review, we tried to tackle the extent of the problem and to present the available published solutions. The literature suggests a large array of methods based on the application of local anesthetic creams, application of cold or hot directly on the cannulation sites or on the contralateral arm, cannulation techniques and AVF localization, distraction as well as alternative treatments. All of them have shown a relative success. There is a serious lack of large multicenter randomized trials and a gap concerning work groups and guidelines or recommendations from national or international societies on this matter. Complementary training starting from the predialysis patient education programs may be useful. Alternative prophylactic measures including counseling, hypnosis, or other physicochemical interventions could also improve our knowledge on the treatment of this seriously uncomfortable condition.