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Brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is an uncommon condition that is due to abnormal connection between arteries and veins in the brain substance. Almost 60% patients diagnosed with this condition are below 40 years of age.

There are different types, grades and location of AVM in the brain. The symptoms that patients present with depend on these above factors. Occasionally they may be detected incidentally.

Dr. Manish Taneja

Neurointervention Specialist, Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic

Brain Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM): Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Brain AVM is a condition that affects the blood vessels in the brain. Unlike normal blood vessels, AVMs lack the necessary capillaries to connect arteries and veins. This leads to abnormal tangles and irregular connections of blood vessels. Disrupting the natural blood flow puts extreme pressure on the surrounding brain tissue and increases the risk of bleeding or rupture. Due to the potential severity of these complications, early detection and proper diagnosis, and treatment are critical for brain AVM patients.


Brain Arteriovenous Malformation Causes and Symptoms

Brain AVM causes are unknown. Most mutations that advance to abnormal formations of blood vessels are believed to develop during fetal development or soon after birth. This means genetic factors may play a role in AVM development but it’s unclear if there’s a certain genetic factor or if the cases are only coincidental. Common brain AVM symptoms include severe headaches, seizures, neurological deficits, such as weakness or numbness, and, in some cases, bleeding in the brain.

Brain Arteriovenous Malformation Risk Factors

While the reasons blood vessel mutations occur remain unclear, you may be more susceptible if you have a family history of AVM. Men are also more likely to develop brain AVM than women, including individuals with inheritable disorders such as hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HTT).


The Different Types of AVM

AVMs are classified into types I to IV:

  • Type I AVM poses a lower risk of rupture as it’s a small, compact malformation with a single, direct artery and vein connection.
  • Type II AVM is a more extensive vascular malformation, often larger in size, with multiple arterial and venous connections that present a moderate risk of rupture.
  • Type III AVM is associated with a higher risk of rupture because it forms a complex malformation of tangled abnormal blood vessels, which are challenging to treat.
  • Type IV AVM does not have blood vessels. A direct artery-to-vein connection without a capillary bed increases the risk of rupture.


Does Brain AVM Lead to Stroke?

Yes. Abnormal blood flow within an AVM weakens blood vessel walls over time and makes them more susceptible to rupture. A bleeding brain AVM requires emergency medical intervention, as it can result in a life-threatening stroke.


Brain Arteriovenous Malformation Diagnosis

An accurate brain AVM diagnosis helps determine a suitable treatment option. A magnetic resonance imaging test (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scan, and a cerebral angiography can enable the visualization of abnormal blood vessels or assess the size/location of the AVM.


Brain Arteriovenous Treatment Options

The treatment of brain AVM depends on the size, location, and symptoms associated with the blood vessel malformations. If the AVM is small or asymptomatic, your doctor may recommend continued monitoring without any medical or surgical intervention. Other treatment options may include:

  • A minimally invasive procedure called endovascular embolization. It involves using a catheter to deliver embolic agents into the blood vessels of the AVM, reducing blood flow and promoting clot formation.
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery, a non-invasive treatment method that delivers highly focused radiation to the AVM and causes blood vessels to close off gradually.
  • If non-invasive treatments are ineffective, an AVM resection may be necessary to surgically disconnect abnormal blood vessels from the surrounding healthy brain tissue.


When Should You See a Brain Arteriovenous Malformation Doctor?

As soon as you begin presenting brain AVM symptoms such as severe headaches, seizures, or neurological deficits, see a neurointervention specialist. Individuals with a family history of AVM or associated risk factors should consult a specialist for proper diagnosis and personalized treatment recommendations. Are you looking for a reliable brain AVM specialist in Singapore?

Conduct a Google search using keywords such as “brain AVM doctor near me,” “brain AVM clinic near me,” or “brain avm specialist in Singapore,” and you’ll find the Singapore-based Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic. Contact us to arrange your appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, a trained and certified neuro-interventional and peripheral vascular interventionist. He has expertise in diagnosing and treating brain arteriovenous malformations through minimally invasive procedures that reduce infection risks and neurological impairment.


Is AVM the Same as Brain Aneurysm?

AVMs and aneurysms involve blood vessels in the brain. There is a chance that an AVM can bleed. As a result, some individuals may assume AVMs and aneurysms are the same. The conditions may have similarities, but they are different.

A brain AVM (Arteriovenous Malformation) is an abnormal tangle of blood vessels in the brain, while a brain aneurysm is a weak or bulging spot in an artery wall that can rupture and cause bleeding. Understand the differences in causes, screening, diagnosis, treatment in “Difference Between Brain AVM and Brain Aneurysm” article in our brain aneurysm resources section.

What is a brain aneurysm? The Ultimate Guide to Brain Aneurysm post can help you learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for this potentially life-threatening condition. We provide care and treatments at our specialized brain aneurysm clinic at Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic in Singapore.


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    The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is your “go-to” facility for various neurological conditions and pain management. To arrange an appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, our neurointervention specialist, contact us. You can also call us at (+65) 6904 8084 for a consultation.