Arteriovenous (AV) Fistula

An arteriovenous fistula is an atypical channel between a vein and an artery. In some rare circumstances, a large fistula may cause reduced blood flow in the affected arm or leg if it is diverting enough blood. (This condition is known as Vascular Access-induced Steal Syndrome, or VASS.) Even though doctors may be able to hear the characteristic sound of blood flowing through a fistula with a stethoscope, imaging tests are often needed for further diagnosis. Fistulas can often be eliminated with laser therapy or surgery, and sometimes substances are injected into the fistula to suppress the blood flow.

Arteriovenous Fistula Symptoms

  • Bulging purplish veins that can be seen through the skin, similar to varicose veins
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Fatigue and heart failure
  • Swelling in your legs or arms

Small arteriovenous fistulas in the legs, arms, lungs, kidneys or brain may not produce any symptoms and usually won't need treatment other than being monitored by your doctor.

Getting Diagnosed

Our team of specialists provide thorough neurological evaluations using the latest diagnostic technology including CT angiography and 3-D angiography.

We work very closely with the departments of Neurosurgery, Interventional Neuroradiology, Neurology and Radiation Oncology, as well as the Neurocritical Care Center and Stroke Center to ensure an accurate diagnosis and the appropriate treatment for the best outcome.

Your Path to Health and Wellness Starts Here

The Brain Aneurysm Center and Cerebrovascular Surgery and Endovascular Neurosurgery Center of Northwell Health Neuroscience Institute combines advanced technical knowledge and cutting-edge procedures for diagnosing and treating arteriovenous malformations, ruptured and non-ruptured aneurysms, carotid artery dissection and related conditions.


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The Neuroscience Institute

We are dedicated to the world-class diagnosis and treatment of neurological diseases and disorders.