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AVMs are relatively rare birth defects. They occur approximately once in every 500 births.
AVMs develop before birth. Usually an AVM is seen as an innocent stain on your child’s skin at birth; often they begin to enlarge in childhood and adolescence.
In time, if the blood flow through an AVM is excessive, your child’s heart can become overworked.
AVMs can occur in any organ in the body. They occur most frequently in the parts of the body below (in order of frequency):
In infancy and childhood, the blush of an AVM can be mistaken for hemangioma (the most common tumor in babies).
Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) — A fairly common familiar vascular disorder. Children with HHT can develop AVMs in the lungs, brain, and gastrointestinal track.
Parkes Weber syndrome — In this disorder, several AVMs plus overgrowth of a limb combine to put extra strain on the heart.
We don’t really know. They are believed to be caused by a mistake in the formation of the normal connections between arteries, veins and capillaries that occurs during early embryonic life.
No known food, medication, or activity during pregnancy can cause an AVM.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”