Arteriovenous (AV) Fistula
An arteriovenous fistula is an abnormal connection between an artery and a vein, by-passing certain capillaries. This results in reduced oxygen and nutrient supply to the tissues accessed by those capillaries. Arteriovenous fistulas occur commonly in the legs, but may develop anywhere in the body. Arteriovenous fistulas could be caused by a piercing injury (like a gunshot or a stab wound). They could also be congenital in nature. In patients with end-stage kidney failure, an arteriovenous fistula may be surgically constructed in the forearm for easier dialysis treatment. A series of imaging tests including duplex ultrasound scans, CT scans and MRI scans are used to diagnose arteriovenous fistula. Once diagnosed, it may be treated with ultrasound-guided compression, catheter embolization or surgical intervention.