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Arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is a type of vascular anomaly that results when there is an abnormal, or tangled, connection between an artery and a vein. AVMs are mainly seen in the brain and spinal cord but can also be found in other parts of the body, including the skin.
Currently, there are no known causes for AVMs, and they are more common in males. It is believed the malformations form during embryonic or fetal development. Nothing a pregnant mother does is known to cause or prevent an AVM formation.
Additionally, pulsing of the blood can be felt when you touch the lesion.
AVMs may not cause any symptoms unless a leak or rupture occurs. However, some symptoms associated with AVMs may be experienced, such as:
If bleeding into the brain occurs, signs and symptoms are similar to those of a stroke and may include:
Symptoms of AVMs may appear at any age, but these vascular malformations tend to remain stable and asymptomatic until around the age of 50. In women, pregnancy may start or worsen symptoms of an AVM due to the increased blood flow and blood volume during pregnancy.
One or more of the following imaging tests may be used to diagnose an arteriovenous malformation:
Treatment approaches for arteriovenous malformations differ depending on the area of the body that is involved and can include:
The vascular anomalies program at Comer Children's offers an integrated and comprehensive approach to the diagnosis, care and management of vascular malformations. Our multidisciplinary team of pediatric experts works together to educate families and to evaluate and treat children with all types of these vascular lesions.