A cerebral arteriovenous malformation is an abnormal connection between the arteries and veins in the brain that usually forms before birth.
AVM - cerebral
The cause of cerebral arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is unknown. The condition occurs when arteries in the brain connect directly to nearby veins without having the normal vessels (capillaries) between them.
AVMs vary in size and location in the brain.
An AVM rupture occurs because of pressure and damage to blood vessel tissue. This allows blood to leak (hemorrhage) into the brain or surrounding tissues, and reduces blood flow to the brain.
Cerebral AVMs are rare. Although the condition is present at birth, symptoms may occur at any age. Hemorrhages occur most often in people ages 15 to 20. It can also occur later in life. Some people with an AVM also have brain aneurysms.
In about half of people with AVMs, the first symptoms are those of a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain.
A catheter is guided through a small cut in your groin to an artery and then to the small blood vessels in your brain where the aneurysm is located.
A glue-like substance is injected into the abnormal vessels to stop blood flow in the AVM and reduce the risk of bleeding. This may be the first choice for some kinds of AVMs, or if surgery cannot be done.
Laakso A, Dashti R, Juvela S, Niemelä M, Hernesniemi J. Natural history of arteriovenous malformations: presentation, risk of hemorrhage and mortality. Acta Neurochir Suppl. 2010;107:65-69. PMID 19953373. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19953373
Spagnuolo E. Surgical management of cerebral arteriovenous malformations. In: Quinones-Hinojosa A, ed. Schmidek and Sweet Operative Neurosurgical Techniques. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 83.
Joseph V. Campellone, M.D., Division of Neurology, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.