Patients with end-stage renal failure (ESRF) undergoing haemodialysis (HD) are repeatedly exposed to stress and pain from approximately 300 punctures per year to their arteriovenous fistula (AVF). Repeated AVF punctures lead to a considerable degree of pain, due to the calibre and length of the bevel of fistula needles. Pain is a sensitive, emotional and subjective experience. The objective of this study was to measure pain associated with AVF needling. The analogue visual scale (AVS) divided into 10 equal parts (0 indicating lack of pain, and 10 unbearable pain) was used. Patients(7) perceptions were measured in three different HD sessions. Pain was considered mild during AVF needling. The buttonhole technique caused a mean degree of pain of 2.4 (+/-1.7), compared to 3.1 (+/-2.3) using the conventional ropeladder technique. Although without reaching a statistically significant difference, diminished pain was associated with the buttonhole technique.