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Vein of Galen malformation (VOGM) originates during a baby’s early prenatal development. It involves a large vein at the base of the brain that is formed early in gestation and is normally replaced by the true vein of Galen. In children with a VOGM, high-pressure, high-speed blood from the arteries flows directly into this precursor vein, preventing a true vein of Galen from forming. The precursor vein enlarges dramatically due to the abnormally elevated flow and is visible on imaging studies.
VOGM sometimes, but not always, occurs in conjunction with vascular anomalies affecting other parts of the body. They generally are not inherited.
In VOGM, as in other arteriovenous fistulae (AVFs), blood flows directly from arteries into the veins without traveling first through the capillaries. This causes a rush of high-pressure blood into the veins, setting off a series of problems:
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