Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

It's possible your doctor may suggest only monitoring your arteriovenous fistula, especially if it's small and doesn't cause any other health problems. Some small arteriovenous fistulas close without treatment.

If your arteriovenous fistula requires treatment, your doctor may recommend:

  • Ultrasound-guided compression. If you have an arteriovenous fistula in your legs and it's easily visible on ultrasound, treatment with ultrasound-guided compression may be an option for you. In this treatment, an ultrasound probe is used to compress the fistula and block blood flow to the damaged blood vessels. This procedure only takes about 10 minutes. But, it only works for about one in three people.
  • Catheter embolization. In this procedure, a catheter is inserted in an artery near the site of your arteriovenous fistula. Doctors use X-ray and other imaging techniques to guide the catheter to your fistula, and a small coil or stent is placed at the site of your fistula to reroute your blood flow. Many people who have catheter embolization stay in the hospital for 24 hours or less and can resume all their daily activities within a week.
  • Surgery. Large arteriovenous fistulas that can't be treated with catheter embolization may require surgery. The type of surgery you'll need depends on the size and location of your arteriovenous fistula.
Apr. 27, 2012