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Arteriovenous Malformation (Cerebral)


Arteriovenous malformation (cerebral) is a condition that represents abnormal connection between veins and arteries present in the brain. Due to this abnormal connection, blood flow to the brain gets disturbed. Although, the malformation can take place in any part of the body, in most cases brain and spine gets affected.  It is a rare disease that affects less than 1% of total population. AVM-cerebral is the alternative name of the condition.

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The exact cause of the condition is not yet known. However, health professionals believe that the condition develops during fetal development. Normally, the heart carries oxygen rich blood to the brain through arteries. After that, in the capillaries, oxygen gets removed from the blood and used by the brain. Oxygen depleted blood, after that, passes into small venules and larger veins. There, blood gets drained from the brain and returned to the lungs and the heart to get more oxygen. If a person has arteriovenous malformation (cerebral), then blood directly passes from the arteries to the veins through abnormal vessels. This leads to disruption of normal process of blood circulation.

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Signs & Symptoms

Although, the condition is present from birth, symptoms are experienced at later stages. Symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Vomiting with headaches
  • Decreased, blurred or double vision
  • Seizures
  • Muscles weakness
  • Less sensation in any body’s part
  • Change in the mental status like feeling confused, lethargic, sleepy, irritation, etc
  • Stiff neck
  • Speech impairment
  • Facial paralysis
  • Fainting
  • Smell-impaired
  • Dizziness
  • Ear noise/buzzing
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No prevention exists for the condition 

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Surgery Modern Medicine

Depending upon the location and size of the abnormal blood vessels, treatments will be decided by the health professionals. Medications are also given for treating symptoms like headaches, seizures, etc. Treatment of arteriovenous malformation (cerebral) includes:

  • Radiosurgery
  • Open brain surgery
  • Endovascular treatment

In open brain surgery, an opening is made in the skull through which malformations are removed. This surgery is basically done by the highly skilled neurosurgeons only. In endovascular treatment, injection of glue-like substance is injected into the blood vessel that helps in ceasing blood flow in the arteriovenous malformation (cerebral) and thereby, reduces risk of bleeding. Stereotactic Radiosurgery is also another treatment of arteriovenous malformation (cerebral). In this method, radiation is provided to the affected area that aids in causing scarring and shrinkage. Bleeding and other related symptoms are controlled from the situation.

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