A brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is an abnormal tangle of blood vessels within the brain. Over time, pressure can build up and prevent normal blood flow. Blood may be diverted from brain areas to cause seizures. If the pressure becomes too great, a blood vessel can burst and blood can leak into the brain. This can damage parts of the brain that control vital body functions such as sight and movement. In some cases, problems caused by an AVM can even lead to death. But an AVM can be treated.
If you have a brain arteriovenous malformation, you were likely born with it. Unfortunately though, an AVM is hard to detect until a problem occurs. Symptoms that may signify an AVM include bad headaches, blurred or double vision and seizures.
At Mercy, we take a team approach to the treatment of brain arteriovenous formations. Brain AVMs are often complex and should be treated at centers where both neurosurgery
and interventional neuroradiology
expertise are available. Here at the Mercy Neurological Institute of Greater Sacramento, our team consists of:
Neuro-critical care neurologist
We base our treatments on the patient's history, symptoms and anatomy of the AVM including its size, feeding arteries, draining veins and location within the brain. AVM treatments include endovascular embolization (closure from within the blood vessels), open surgical removal, radiosurgery or a combination of techniques. Embolization is often used to shrink the AVM for easier surgical removal. Endovascular embolization is minimally invasive and can be performed within Mercy's Interventional Neuroradiology Department. Surgical procedures are performed in Mercy's Neurosurgery Department.
If you believe you may have a brain arteriovenous malformation, call the Mercy Neurological Institute today. AVMs can be dangerous and life-threatening if left untreated.