Acupuncture-induced popliteal arteriovenous fistula successfully treated with percutaneous endovascular intervention

Kaohsiung J Med Sci. 2010 Mar;26(3):158-62. doi: 10.1016/S1607-551X(10)70024-3.


A 39-year-old female visited our cardiovascular outpatient department with paresthesia and soreness around the right popliteal fossa, where thrill was palpable. There was no history of trauma, apart from her having undergone acupuncture several years previously. An arteriovenous fistula (AVF) was diagnosed by vascular ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging. Angiography confirmed the presence of an AVF fed by the medial geniculate artery. Transarterial embolization was performed to close the AVF using coils and tissue adhesive. To the best of our knowledge, acupuncture-induced AVF has not been previously reported. We present a case demonstrating the merits of percutaneous endovascular intervention for treating this rare complication. The additional administration of a tissue adhesive can achieve complete closure of the AVF in the event of an unsatisfactory result following coil embolization. Doctors should be aware of the potential vascular complications of acupuncture, and of the management options.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Adult
  • Arteriovenous Fistula / diagnostic imaging
  • Arteriovenous Fistula / etiology*
  • Arteriovenous Fistula / therapy*
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography
  • Popliteal Artery / abnormalities*
  • Popliteal Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Ultrasonography