Small arteriovenous fistulas in your legs, arms, lungs, kidneys or brain often won't have any signs or symptoms and usually don't need treatment other than monitoring by your doctor. Larger arteriovenous fistulas may cause signs and symptoms.
Arteriovenous fistula signs and symptoms may include:
- Purplish, bulging veins that you can see through your skin, similar to varicose veins
- Swelling in the arms or legs
- Decreased blood pressure
- Heart failure
An arteriovenous fistula in your lungs (pulmonary arteriovenous fistula) is a serious condition and can cause:
- Blueness of the skin
- Clubbing of fingers
- Coughing up blood
An arteriovenous fistula in your gastrointestinal tract can cause bleeding in your digestive tract.
When to see a doctor
If you have any of these signs and symptoms, and think you might have an arteriovenous fistula, make an appointment to see your doctor. Early detection of an arteriovenous fistula may make your condition easier to treat and may reduce your risk of developing complications, such as blood clots or, in severe cases, heart failure.
April 07, 2015
- Cronenwett JL, et al. Acquired arteriovenous fistulae. In: Rutherford's Vascular Surgery. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier: 2014.
- Mohler ER. Acquired arteriovenous fistulas of the lower extremity. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 23, 2015.
- Vascular access for hemodialysis. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/vascularaccess/. Accessed Feb. 23, 2015.
- Doherty GM, ed. Arteries. In: Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Surgery. 13th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Feb. 23, 2015.
- Catheter embolization. Radiological Society of North America. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=cathembol. Accessed Feb. 23, 2015.
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