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Coronary Artery Fistula—Child

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Coronary Artery Fistula—Child


Coronary artery fistula is an abnormal connection between the coronary artery and the heart or other blood vessels. Coronary arteries carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart tissue. A small fistula will not affect this blood flow, but larger ones may cause problems.

The Coronary Arteries.

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This is often caused by a defect that is present at birth. It is not known exactly why this happens.

Some fistulas can also happen after birth due to infection, injury, or heart surgery.

Risk Factors

There are no known risk factors.


Most children with mild fistulas do not have symptoms. Rarely, those who do have symptoms may have:

  • Chest pain
  • Fast heartbeat


The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the heart. This problem may be suspected if the doctor hears a heart murmur.

Images may be taken of your child's body. This can be done with:

Your child's heart function may be tested. This can be done with:


Surgery will be done to correct the defect. Choices are:

  • Coil embolization to close off the abnormal vessel by placing a coil through blood vessels in the arms or legs and passing it to the heart
  • Open heart surgery to close the defect with stitches

Lifelong heart monitoring will be needed after treatment.


There are no known guidelines to prevent coronary artery fistula.





  • Anomalous coronary arteries. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/anomalous-coronary-arteries.
  • Coronary artery fistula. Children’s Hospital Boston website. Available at: https://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions/coronary-artery-fistula.
  • Coronary artery fistula. Cove Point Foundation website. Available at: http://www.pted.org/?id=coronaryfistula1.


  • Kari Kuenn, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.