Cerebral arteriovenous malformation

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Cerebral arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is a vascular disorder in which there is an abnormal connection between the arteries and veins in the brain. This condition disrupts the normal process of blood flow between these two major blood vessels, leading to potential brain damage and other serious complications. AVMs are a rare condition and can occur anywhere within the central nervous system, but when they are located in the brain, they are specifically referred to as cerebral AVMs.

Causes and Risk Factors[edit | edit source]

The exact cause of cerebral AVMs is not well understood, but they are believed to develop during fetal development. These malformations are usually congenital, meaning they are present at birth, but they are not typically inherited. Factors that may increase the risk of developing an AVM include certain genetic conditions, such as Heredity Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (also known as Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome), but for most people, the risk factors are unknown.

Symptoms[edit | edit source]

Symptoms of cerebral AVMs can vary greatly depending on the location and size of the malformation. Some individuals with AVMs may experience no symptoms at all, while others may have severe and life-threatening symptoms. Common symptoms include:

Diagnosis[edit | edit source]

Diagnosis of cerebral AVMs typically involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and imaging tests. The most commonly used imaging tests include:

Treatment[edit | edit source]

Treatment for cerebral AVMs depends on the size, location, and severity of the malformation, as well as the patient's overall health. Options may include:

  • Medical management for symptoms, such as medication to control seizures or headaches
  • Surgical removal of the AVM if it is in an accessible location and the patient is a suitable candidate
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery, a form of radiation therapy that targets the AVM
  • Endovascular embolization, a minimally invasive procedure that involves inserting materials to block the blood vessels feeding the AVM

Prognosis[edit | edit source]

The prognosis for individuals with cerebral AVMs varies. Without treatment, there is a risk of brain damage or death due to bleeding. However, with appropriate management and treatment, many people with AVMs can lead normal, healthy lives. The risk of recurrent bleeding decreases after successful treatment, but ongoing monitoring is often necessary.

See Also[edit | edit source]


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD