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What is arteriovenous (AV) fistula?

An arteriovenous fistula is an atypical channel between a vein and an artery.

Our approach

Northwell Health Institute for Neurology and Neurosurgery 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. We work very closely with the departments of neurosurgery, interventional neuroradiology, neurology and radiation oncology, as well as other specialists, to ensure an accurate diagnosis and the appropriate treatment for the best outcome.


Symptoms depend on the size of the fistula and may include:

  • 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

How is it diagnosed?

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.

Types of treatment

Fistulas can often be eliminated with laser therapy or surgery, and sometimes substances are injected into the fistula to suppress the blood flow.

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