Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM)

Also known as: AVMs

What are Arteriovenous Malformations?

Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are defects of the circulatory system that are thought to arise during embryonic or fetal development or soon after birth.


They are composed of tangled arteries and veins. Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to the body's cells; veins return oxygen-depleted blood to the lungs and heart. The presence of an AVM disrupts this vital cyclical process. Although AVMs can develop in many different sites including the skin, those located in the brain or spinal cord-the two parts of the central nervous system can have especially widespread effects on the body.


They affect up to 300,000 Americans and is equally found in both females and males. There are very few if hardly symptoms associated with AVM.

Symptoms vary from patient to patient and vary in severity. Most common symptoms are headaches and seizures. AVM’s can also cause some neurological symptoms which include:

  • dizziness
  • muscle weakness,
  • loss of coordination (ataxia), carrying out tasks
  • trouble understanding language
  • numbness
  • tingling
  • spontaneous pain

AVMs can be detected through a CT scan or an MRI.


Treatment for Arteriovenous Malformation

AVM  treatment is challenging, however some are amenable to surgery and interventional radiology.

This page was last updated on: 3/5/2018 3:43:32 PM

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