Advanced Treatment for Arteriovenous Fistula
Dr. Peter Nakaji can treat an arteriovenous fistula (AVF), which results from an abnormal connection between the arteries and the veins in the brain. With microsurgery, he can repair the abnormal connection and restore normal blood flow. AVFs transfer high-pressure blood into the area around your brain and spinal cord. This greatly increases the risk for a stroke or other cerebrovascular disease. If you experience any of the symptoms of an AVF, it is important to visit a neurosurgeon as soon as possible. Contact Barrow Neurological Institute to schedule an appointment.
What Is an Arteriovenous Fistula?
An AVF occurs when blood flows directly from your arteries to your veins, bypassing some of the capillaries. The veins are designed to carry low-pressure blood. An AVF increases blood pressure, which could eventually cause veins to constrict and stop functioning. Blood may then redirect to the veins in the brain, increasing blood pressure in these vessels as well. When an AVF reaches this advanced stage, sufferers face a much higher risk of seizures and strokes.
Who Is at Risk for an AVF?
In the majority of cases, AVFs develop spontaneously, and scientists do not know what causes them. In some cases, AVFs can result because of a brain injury, cancer, infection, or surgery. Patients with damaged immune systems also face a higher risk of developing fistulas.
The Symptoms of an AVF
AVFs can cause several distinct symptoms. You may develop a bruit, in which you hear a chronic rushing sound. It can also cause tinnitus, or a ringing in your ears. Other symptoms include:
· Frequent headaches
· Vision loss
· Red or swollen eyes
· Congestion in the eyes
In advanced stages, AVFs can cause stroke-like symptoms.
Diagnosing an Arteriovenous Fistula
To make an accurate diagnosis, Dr. Nakaji will perform several tests. An angiogram is a process of taking x-ray images after a colored dye is injected into the bloodstream. By tracing blood flow through your brain, Dr. Nakaji can easily detect AVFs. He may also take CT scans or MRIs, but these images often show normal readings, even when an angiogram reveals abnormalities.
Microsurgery and Other Treatments for AVFs
Following your diagnosis, Dr. Nakaji recommends swift treatment to prevent permanent brain damage. In many cases, he will perform endovascular coiling. Dr. Nakaji will guide a small tube through an artery in the leg, placing a coil, or stent, near the AVF to redirect blood flow so that it passes correctly through your capillaries. He will use advanced imaging technology and intravenous dye to ensure your safety throughout the surgery. This minimally invasive surgery often requires less than a week of recovery time.
Note that if your AVF has already started to hemorrhage, you will require additional treatment. Dr. Nakaji will monitor your progress and refer to you a physical or occupational therapist, if needed.
Schedule an Appointment with an Experienced Neurosurgeon
Dr. Nakaji is a recognized leader in the field of neurosurgery, and can provide outstanding treatment for AVF. If you are suffering the symptoms of AVF, contact our office immediately.