An arteriovenous fistula (AVF) is any abnormal connection between an artery and a vein that bypasses the normal capillary bed and shunts blood directly to the venous circulation. These abnormal communications may occur in any area of the body and affect blood vessels of any size. Any discussion of treatment of these conditions requires a clear understanding of their cause, pathophysiology, and physiologic consequences. This article reviews these topics as they relate to the timing and role of endovascular therapy. Arteriovenous connections constructed for the purpose of dialysis access are not considered.
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Published online: July 04, 2011
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