Arteriovenous malformation

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Arteriovenous malformation or AVM is an abnormal connection between veins and arteries, usually congenital. This pathology is widely known because of its occurrence in the central nervous system, but can appear in any location.

The genetic transmission patterns of AVM, if any, are unknown. AVM is not generally thought to be an inherited disorder, unless in the context of a specific hereditary syndrome.

Contents

Signs and symptoms

Symptoms of AVM vary according to the location of the malformation. Roughly 88% [1] of people affected with AVM are asymptomatic; often the malformation is discovered as part of an autopsy or during treatment of an unrelated disorder (called in medicine "an incidental finding"); in rare cases its expansion or a micro-bleed from an AVM in the brain can cause epilepsy, deficit or pain.

The most general symptoms of a cerebral AVM include headache and epilepsy, with more specific symptoms occurring that normally depend on the location of the malformation and the individual. Such possible symptoms include:[2]


Pathophysiology

Arteriovenous malformations, also known as AVMs, are deficiencies of the cardiovascular system. In a normal functioning human body, arteries carry oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to the rest of the body, and veins return oxygen-depleted blood to the lungs and heart. An AVM interferes with this cyclical process. Instead of the gradual transition through the capillaries from arteries to veins that is typical of normal functioning vasculature, AVMs cause direct associations of the arteries and veins. AVMs can cause intense pain and lead to serious medical problems. Although AVMs are often associated with the brain and spinal cord, they can develop in any part of the body.

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