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Arteriovenous fistula

Synonyms: AV fistula, Arteriovenous shunt
German: Arteriovenöse Fistel

1 Definition

The term arteriovenous fistula is used to define an abnormal short-circuit connection between a vein and artery.

2 Aetiology

Aetiologically speaking fistulas are differentiated by being either congenital or acquired. The latter arise via vessel wall trauma or chronic vessel wall irritation (eg. venous hypertension as part of sinus thrombosis events).

Moreover, artificial arteriovenous shunts are implanted for therapeutic purposes, including

3 Haemodynamics

Haemodynamic complications of pathological arteriovenous fistulas are the result of

  • arterialisation due to pressure flow reversal differences of the venous blood within the affected vein and
  • a supply deficit of supplied arterial tissue

4 Diagnostics

The diagnosis of pathological AV fistulas is carried out in image form by way of angiography (eg. DSA, MR angiography) or ultrasound ( Doppler procedure, duplex sonography) methods. Superficial fistulas are identifiable by their characteristic flow noise via auscultation.

5 Examples

See also: fistula, shunt

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