Brain Arteriovenous Malformation

What is a brain arteriovenous malformation?

A brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is a tangle of arteries and veins in the brain that disrupt the normal flow of blood. This is a condition that is usually present at birth. In rare cases, brain AVMs are associated with conditions that run in families.

Though they are most common in the brain, AVMs can also occur in other parts of the body.

In brain AVMs, the blood travels directly from the arteries to the veins instead of moving through the capillaries first. This can cause several problems in the brain, including stroke, abnormal fluid balance, hydrocephalus or, in rare cases, heart failure.

 

Watch: Learn more about AVMs

What is an AVM?

How do we diagnose AVMs?

How do we treat AVMs?

What is an AVM?

How do we diagnose AVMs?

How do we treat AVMs?

AVM surgery: What's it like?

What happens after AVM surgery?

AVM surgery: What's it like?

What happens after AVM surgery?

What are the symptoms of brain arteriovenous malformations?

Brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) sometimes cause no symptoms and are only found during imaging for other reasons. More commonly, though, AVMs can cause bleeding in the brain, seizures and other neurological problems.

Symptoms can include:

  • seizures
  • persistent headaches
  • weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
  • problems with speaking
  • loss of coordination
  • numbness, tingling or pain

What are the causes of brain arteriovenous malformations?

The cause of AVMs is not known. In most cases, children are born with them. In rare cases, AVMs are associated with conditions that run in families.

How we care for brain arteriovenous malformations

The experts at Boston Children’s Hospital Cerebrovascular Surgery and Interventions Center treat brain AVMs and other cerebrovascular conditions.

Because we have the capability to provide the entire spectrum of cerebrovascular disease treatment options — surgery, radiation, and embolization — we're able to provide the best care plan for each child, using noninvasive procedures and limiting radiation exposure whenever possible.

 

Meet Jack

A concussion led to the discovery of an AVM. “My fourth concussion saved my life,” he says.

 

Meet jack and learn more about arteriovenous malformation (AVM) and his journey at Boston Children