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Case report
High-output cardiac failure secondary to high-output arteriovenous fistula: investigations, management and definitive treatment


A 32 year-old woman was admitted to our institution with progressive dyspnoea. Her medical history was notable for end-stage renal failure secondary to chronic pyelonephritis, and she had undergone a cadaveric renal transplant in 2010. This had been preceded by haemodialysis treatment via a radiocephalic arteriovenous fistula. Her diagnostic evaluation was remarkable for pulmonary hypertension. A subsequent doppler ultrasound of her arteriovenous fistula revealed a blood flow of 3 L/min. This is consistent with a high output fistula. Echocardiography demonstrated an improvement in pulmonary artery pressure with occlusion of the fistula. After multidisciplinary discussion, a decision was made to surgically tie off her fistula. The patient experienced immediate improvement in her shortness of breath along with resolution of pulmonary hypertension on echocardiography. This case highlights the rare complication of high output cardiac failure from a dialysis fistula and its successful surgical management.

  • chronic renal failure
  • dialysis
  • renal intervention

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