Small arteriovenous fistulas in your legs, arms, lungs, kidneys or brain often won't have any symptoms and usually don't need treatment other than monitoring by your doctor. Larger arteriovenous fistulas may cause symptoms.

Arteriovenous fistula symptoms may include:

  • Swelling and reddish appearance on the skin surface
  • Purplish, bulging veins that you can see through your skin, similar to varicose veins
  • Swelling in the arms or legs
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Heart failure

An arteriovenous fistula in your lungs (pulmonary arteriovenous fistula) is a serious condition and can cause:

  • Difficulty breathing, especially when exercising
  • Blueness of the skin
  • Clubbing of fingers
  • Stroke

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.

Apr. 27, 2012