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Maturation time

During the maturation time you need to pay special attention to your vascular access site. For this period the operated area may be covered with a bandage to protect it from infection and to keep it safe.

From time to time the physician or nurse will examine the status of your fistula. After the surgery, it is very important that you follow your doctor’s recommendations on how to care for your fistula arm. You should also help the fistula to develop by following an appropriate exercise programme; your doctor will give you indications and tell you when to start. By exercising your fistula arm, you increase the blood supply to the fistula. This makes the fistula enlarge and prepare it for cannulation.

Please ask your healthcare team for more advice if your fistula is not yet completely matured. Here are some simple exercises you can do even while watching television or reading:

Grab a clothes peg

  • Take a normal clothes peg
  • Squeeze it open with your index finger and thumb, allowing it to close again
  • Repeat this exercise for 5 minutes, 6 times a day

Squeeze a soft ball

  • Hold the ball in the hand of your fistula arm
  • Let your arm hang down beside your body
  • Squeeze the ball by opening and closing your hand repeatedly for about 5 minutes

Touching the fingertips

  • Touch each finger "to" the tip of your thumb, repeating this action for 5 minutes. Remember to open your hand after each touch
  • Touch fingertips to thumb repeatedly for 5 minutes, 6 times a day

These simple exercises help the development of the newly created blood vessel, allowing it to become larger and stronger. Remember to stop the exercises if your arm becomes tired or the exercise is painful for your arm.