HF 6504

Going Home After a Hemodialysis Catheter Removal

This handout will tell you how to care for yourself at home after removal of your hemodialysis catheter.


You might have some pain after the catheter is taken out. Please use only Tylenol® or pain medicine offered to you by your doctor or nurse. Avoid aspirin, Motrin®, Aleve®, or any other NSAID medicine. These types of medicine could cause bleeding. Talk to your dialysis nurse or kidney doctor if you still have pain after two days that is making it hard to sleep or care for yourself.


You may have some slight bleeding. If blood soaks through your dressings, or if you notice a lump under your skin at the site, please call us. If you have severe bleeding or trouble breathing, call 911. If you can, hold pressure right over the area, and if it seems to slow or stop with the pressure, have someone drive you to the emergency room. Think about safety as you make this choice. 911 is a better choice if you are not sure of your safety.

Blood Thinners

If you have been on Coumadin® or Plavix®, speak to your doctor about when you can resume these. You need to stop taking these for a few days before and after removal in most cases. Ask your doctor what is best for you.

Signs of Infection

  • Redness/tenderness at the site

  • Pus or drainage from the site

  • A fever greater than 100.5° F

Care of the Site

You do not require any routine care of the site. At your next treatment, the dialysis nurse can remove the dressings. If you are no longer on dialysis, wait 24 hours until you remove the dressing. If you have some oozing, cover with more gauze and tape and leave it until your next treatment. You may bathe or shower after the dressing is removed.

When to Call

Call your kidney doctor or talk to your dialysis nurse if you see any signs of infection.

Who to Call

Your Dialysis Unit or IP Dialysis Unit

8:00 am to 6:30 pm, Monday to Saturday

(608) 263-8748

After hours, call (608) 262-0486 to reach the paging operator. Ask for the dialysis nurse on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The nurse will call you back.

The toll-free number is 1-800-323-8942.