The cardiovascular specialists at UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute offer patients advanced treatment for arteriovenous (AV) fistula, an abnormal connection between an artery and a vein.
When blood flows through the body, it moves from your arteries to your capillaries to your veins. With an arteriovenous (AV) fistula, blood actually bypasses some of the capillaries and flows directly from an artery into a vein resulting in tissues below the bypassed capillaries receiving less blood.
Small AV fistulas that occur in your legs, arms, lungs, kidneys or brain often occur without any symptoms and only need to be monitored by your doctor. Larger AV fistulas may cause:
AV fistulas can develop anywhere in the body, but they typically occur in the legs. They can be caused from:
Regardless of the cause, serious complications can develop if a large AV fistula is not treated, including heart failure, blood clots, leg pain, and stroke or bleeding.
If you suspect you may have an AV fistula, your doctor will place a stethoscope over the area where a fistulas is suspected and listen for a sound similar to clicking or humming machinery (machinery murmur). If a murmur is heard, he or she will confirm it is caused by AV fistula, using one or more of the following diagnostic tests:
For small fistulas that don’t cause any other health problems, you will simply need to be monitored by your doctor and see if it closes on its own. If you require treatment, your doctor may recommend:
Call UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute at: 717-231-8555
UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
Located at Brady Building
205 South Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17104
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