Cerebral Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM)
A cerebral arteriovenous malformation is a result an abnormal connection of veins and arteries within the brain. It is formed when brain blood vessels develop to connect veins and arteries without normal capillaries between them and results in hemorrhagic stroke, or sudden bleeding within the brain. Symptoms are rare until complications occur, and then involve severe headache, siezure, nausea and vision problems. The disorder is congenital and a cause is not known.
An medical emergency which requires immediate hospitalization, treatment for cerebral arterio-venous malformation involves either radiosurgery or open brain surgery. Embolization uses neuroendovascular techniques to guide a microcatheter into the blood vessels that “feed” the AVM. Through the catheter, types of “super glue” or particles are injected into the malformation to block off some of these “feeding” vessels. This procedure may make surgical removal of the AVM safer and decrease blood loss, or it may shrink the size of the AVM so that stereotactic radiosurgery is a possible form of treatment.