Development of hemodynamically relevant acquired arterio-venous fistulae in patients with venous malformations

Clin Hemorheol Microcirc. 2023;83(3):207-215. doi: 10.3233/CH-221610.


Background: Venous malformations tend to retain their slow-flow behavior, even in progressive disease or regression following therapy.

Objective: The aim of this study is to analyze the development of acquired hemodynamic relevant arterio-venous fistulae in patients with slow-flow malformations.

Methods: This study is a retrospective analysis based on a consecutive local registry at a tertiary care Interdisciplinary Center for Vascular Anomalies. Patients with venous malformations and development of secondary arterio-venous fistulae were included. Indications for therapy of the vascular malformation were based on patients' symptoms and complications. The following endpoints were of clinical interest and were assessed: origin of development of arteriovenous fistula, development of secondary comorbidities as a result of the vascular malformation. For analysis we focused on descriptive statistics.

Results: Out of 1213 consecutive patients with vascular malformations, in 6 patients perfusion changed from slow flow to arterio-venous fast-flow patterns. Four patients developed the fistula after local trauma in the area of the malformation, the other 2 patients developed the fistula due to progression of the disease and recurrent thrombophlebitis. These 2 patients had no trauma or interventions at the time of arterio-venous fistula development.

Conclusions: Acquired arterio-venous fast-flow fistula in patients with slow flow vascular malformation is very rare and might be a result of local trauma or the progression of the disease with recurrent thrombophlebitis. Specific evidence-based treatment options for these patients do not exist.

Keywords: Congenital vascular malformation; arterio-venous fistula; fast flow malformation; slow flow malformation.

MeSH terms

  • Arteriovenous Fistula* / complications
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thrombophlebitis* / complications
  • Vascular Malformations* / complications