Article: Arteriovenous Malformation Information Page

What is Arteriovenous Malformation?

An arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is a congenital disorder characterized by a complex, tangled web of arteries and veins. An AVM may occur in the brain, brainstem, or spinal cord and is caused by abnormal development of blood vessels. The most common symptoms of AVM include hemorrhaging (bleeding), seizures, headaches, and neurological problems such as paralysis or loss of speech, memory, or vision.

Is there any treatment?

There are three general forms of treatment for AVM: surgery; embolization, which involves closing off the vessels of the AVM by injecting glue into them (embolization is often used before surgery); and radiosurgery, which involves focusing radiation on the AVM.

What is the prognosis?

AVMs that hemorrhage can lead to serious neurological problems, and sometimes death. However, some people have AVMs that never cause problems.

What research is being done?

The NINDS conducts and supports a wide range of studies that explore the complex mechanisms of normal brain development. The knowledge gained from these fundamental studies provides the foundation for understanding how this process can go awry and, thus, offers hope for new means to treat and prevent congenital disorders including AVM.

Select this link to view a list of studies currently seeking patients.


Angioma Alliance
107 Quaker Meeting House Road
Williamsburg, VA   23188
Tel: 866-HEAL-CCM (433-5226) 757-258-3355

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
P.O. Box 1968
(55 Kenosia Avenue)
Danbury, CT   06813-1968
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)
Fax: 203-798-2291

International Radiosurgery Support Association (IRSA)
P.O. Box 5186
Harrisburg, PA   17110
Tel: 717-260-9808
Fax: 717-260-9809


Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Cache Date: December 16, 2004