Vascular Malformations of the Brain
Most CMs are diagnosed after an episode of bleeding causes the loss of some neurological function, resulting in weakness, dizziness, seizures or headaches. In most cases, that function gradually returns as the blood becomes reabsorbed. The symptoms are caused by the pressure of blood accumulation in and around the cavernous angioma. The bleeding from such a blood vessel malformation can be slow and intermittent (subacute) or it can be rapid, causing a sudden onset of symptoms. Headache and/or seizures are also frequently seen. In a series of 55 patients treated by Dr. Michael Scott here at Children's Hospital, the most common set of symptoms was gradual or rapid onset of a neurologic deficit such as weakness or sensation changes in an arm or leg. The second largest group of patients came in with seizures, and the third with headaches, irritability or changes in personality.