Vascular Steal: Stealing some back

Vascular steal, where the fistula’s demand for increased blood volume deprives the distal part of the affected limb of its customary circulation, affects many of us. It is possible to bring alleviation through hand exercises. A most useful device comprises a section cut to size from those long snaky sponges kids use as swimming floats. Unlike a squeeze ball which feels like its filled with soft putty, the sponge has great spring and response. My circulation in the affected hand improved markedly within three weeks. Please don’t annoy family members by squeezing at TV time; the sponge emits an insistent rustly sound! I found it worked well on walks, using a second sponge in the other hand for symmetry. A range of moves will suggest themselves beyond the few imaged.


This is a great suggestion. In 1999, a patient sent a suggestion to MEI’s Life Options Program for some songs to use while you’re squeezing. Check them out here: