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Arteriovenous Malformations (AVM)


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Home >> Specialities >> Neurosciences >> Neurosurgery >> Arteriovenous Malformations (AVM)

Arteriovenous Malformations (AVM)

An Arteriovenous Malformation refers to a tangled connection between the Arteries and Veins, which disrupts the normal flow of blood to and from the brain. Although such malformations can develop in any part of the brain, these are more likely to be seen in the brain and spinal cord. If left untreated, the problem can put you at a high risk of developing complications like brain damage and stroke as it prevents the brain cells from getting enough oxygenated blood. Arteriovenous malformations are quite rare and are likely to affect 1 in every 100,000 people. These can affect anyone but are most common in people lying in the age group of 20 to 40 years.

What are the complications associated with Arteriovenous Malformations?
There are three different ways in which arteriovenous malformations can affect your brain. These are:

  • It can lead to bleeding, which can damage the brain cells and tissues
  • It can cause oxygen depletion and prevent nutrients from reaching the brain tissues 
  • It can lead to increased pressure on the surrounding structures and tissues by causing the veins to swell up. 

What causes Arteriovenous Malformations?
It is not yet known what causes arteriovenous malformations, however, these are believed to be a result of certain prenatal complications. Some people may also develop these as a result of a chronic infection or a traumatic brain injury. In rare cases, the condition may be hereditary.

What are the indications of Arteriovenous Malformations?
Nearly 15 percent of the people with arteriovenous malformations do not experience any noticeable symptoms and are likely to develop these if there is bleeding in the brain, which is likely to happen in about 50 percent of the cases. Common symptoms that could be an indication of arteriovenous malformations include:

  • Seizures and unconsciousness
  • Frequent headaches
  • Partial or complete paralysis
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Numbness or tingling sensation, especially in the limbs
  • Lightheadedness
  • Speech difficulties 
  • Problems with movement 
  • Loss of balance
  • Confusion and hallucinations 
  • Poor memory
  • Problems with vision. 
  • Severe back pain 

When should you consider seeing a doctor?
You should see a doctor as soon as you start experiencing the symptoms. These do not necessarily mean that you have arteriovenous malformations and any conclusion can be reached only after thorough evaluation and assessment. 

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