Vein of Galen malformations

Also known as: vein of Galen aneurysmal malformations, VOGM

What are vein of Galen malformations?

The vein of Galen is a large vessel in the brain that drains the front and central parts of the brain. During early fetal development (6-11 weeks) the barrier between the very small arteries and the veins that normally slows the blood flow down, are missing, causing the blood to flow faster between artery and vein (arteriovenous malformation). This can result in the vein of Galen bulging (aneurysm). As the heart tries to keep up with the increased blood flow, it may fail (heart failure). The malformation can bleed into the brain, grow larger and/or cause other brain problems.

What causes vein of Galen malformations?

Researchers aren’t exactly sure what causes vein of Galen malformations. It’s a defect that is present at birth & babies with it tend to have other types of arteriovenous malformations.

What are the symptoms of vein of Galen malformations?

Symptoms may include signs of heart failure (difficult, fast breathing, bluish skin, poor feeding, etc), have a rapidly growing big head with fluid on the brain (hydrocephalus), seizures, and other symptoms.

What are vein of Galen malformations care options?

Treatment usually requires the services of a neurologist, neurosurgeon and an interventional neuroradiologist and may include surgery, radiotherapy and endovascular treatments. The timing of the procedures will vary depending on the type and severity of the complications, but they typically begin shortly after birth. Nicklaus Children's hospital has a full range of professional services required for outstanding care.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 10/31/2017 11:52:20 AM

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