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There are many ways you can help children and their families get the care they need.
Arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs) are diagnosed by noninvasive imaging of the brain to determine their location. Usually, diagnosis begins with one of the following imaging studies:
Sometimes a catheter angiogram (also known as a cerebral angiogram or cerebral arteriogram) is needed. This test uses live x-rays to produce detailed images of the arteries and veins. A small needle is inserted into an artery in the groin, and a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) is guided to the area being studied. A special dye, injected through the catheter, allows the radiologist to more clearly see the AVF and the pattern of arteries and veins surrounding it. This test is usually done under general anesthesia. Read more about angiograms.
The treatment team at the Cerebrovascular Surgery and Interventions Center will provide advance instructions on how to prepare for these tests.
In addition to imaging tests, our neurologist colleagues may conduct a variety of specific tests to assess the child’s brain function. In addition, Boston Children’s often recommends that children with AVFs have blood testing for disorders that cause abnormalities of blood clotting, as these can increase their risk for AVF complications. Finally, we often recommend genetic screening for children with AVFs, as they may have a genetic mutation that can potentially cause other medical problems.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”