Vein of Galen Malformation (VOGM) | Diagnosis and Treatment

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How is vein of Galen malformation diagnosed?

VOGM is often noticed on a prenatal ultrasound late in pregnancy, and in other cases is diagnosed after birth.

The main imaging technique used to diagnose vein of Galen malformations (VOGMs) is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Other tests may include:

  • CT angiography (CTA), which uses the technology of a computed tomography (CT) scan along with an injected dye to generates images of the blood vessels of the upper chest, neck, and brain
  • magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), which uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology to evaluate blood vessels in the brain, head and neck

Vein of Galen Patient Alex

What are the treatments for vein of Galen malformation?

The goal of treating a VOGM is to eliminate or decrease as much of the blood flow through the VOGM as possible, while maximizing the blood supply to the brain.

The most common treatment is endovascular embolization, a minimally invasive procedure. For this procedure, the neurosurgeon inserts a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) into an artery in the child’s groin through a tiny incision. The surgeon guides the catheter up into the brain and injects a special material (such as a type of glue or soft metal coils) into the blood vessels of the VOGM to close off the blood flow.

Most children have no pain or other symptoms with embolization, and most are able to leave the hospital within a few days. Some children will need to spend several days in the ICU for observation.

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