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Arteriovenous malformation - cerebral

The UF Health Neurovascular Program is one of the leading programs in the nation for cerebrovascular and endovascular neurosurgery. Dr. Brian Hoh and Dr. Spiros Blackburn in the UF Department of Neurosurgery and Dr. Chris Firment of the UF Department of Radiology perform a variety of endovascular neurosurgery procedures. The Program’s experienced UF physicians provide specialized, state-of the-art care to patients with neurovascular conditions; care that is both timely and compassionate.

The UF Health Neurovascular Program performs more than 1,000 procedures per year, including both endovascular and open cerebrovascular surgery to treat the most complex neurovascular disorders. They are pioneers in advancing the treatment of neurovascular disease through clinical and basic science research, and through developing, testing and refining the latest technologies and devices to improve patient care. These physicians are dedicated to training and educating the next generation of neurovascular surgeons.

About AVM

AVM illustrationBrain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is an abnormal tangle of blood vessels in the brain which can cause bleeding in the brain, seizures, or stroke-like symptoms (weakness, numbness, tingli ng). The cause of AVMs is unknown.

Symptoms

Brain AVMs can bleed in the brain in which case patients may have a severe headache, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, stiff neck, or loss of consciousness. They can also cause seizures. They may also cause stroke-like symptoms such as paralysis, weakness, numbness, vision problems, balance or coordination problems, or speech difficulties.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of a brain AVM is made by CT scan, MRI, and catheter cerebral angiogram.

Treatment

The treatment of a brain AVM is either by surgery (opening the skull and surgically removing the AVM from the brain ), embolization (injecting substances into the AVM to block off the abnormal vessels via tiny plastic tubes inserted in the patient's groin and navigated to the brain by x-ray guidance and not requiring surgery), orradiosurgery (a one-time treatment of high-focused radiation to the brain AVM).

AVM Angiogram

Angiogram showing a mass of tangled vessels

endovascular catheter

Drawing depiciting endovascular catheterization

Brain AVMs are either treated after they have caused bleeding, or in some patients, an AVM is found before it has bled, and is treated to prevent it from bleeding.

Prognosis

Once a patient recovers from an AVM bleeding, he or she can have a good recovery depending on the severity of the bleed and the disability caused by the bleed.