Fist Assist Devices, a small Silicon Valley firm, won the European CE Mark for its eponymous wearable device. The Fist Assist works to widen the vein diameter in preparation for fistula placement and to help with fistula vein dilation in patients requiring hemodialysis.
It is worn on the arm twice a day starting at about three months prior to fistula creation surgery. Each session lasts about an hour, during which intermittent compression is applied which tends to slowly increase the cephalic vein size. This is the vein that is typically linked to an artery to create a fistula.
After surgery, the Fist Assist is expected to be used again to help the vein maintain its size and for the fistula to mature. Once cannulation becomes viable, the Fist Assist is used to help with the procedure and even afterwards when it’s time for dialysis to take place.
“Fist Assist provides a patient-focused evidence-based approach to surgical vein enhancement for all types of arteriovenous fistulas and can be used to enhance veins before fistula creation as well as after surgery to improve maturation,” said Dr. Nick Inston, Specialist Vascular Access Surgeon at University Hospitals Birmingham, in a Fist Assist press release. “Access surgery and subsequent maturation is a major challenge and adjuncts to improve outcomes are desperately needed. Fist Assist is a creative solution which for the first time allows patients to be involved and directly influence their clinical outcomes with a comfortable and easy to use device.”