Nervous system ORGAN SYSTEMS

Arteriovenous malformation (AVM)


Arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is an abnormal connection between arteries and veins, bypassing the capillary system.

  • Sites:
    • Common: Brain (Cerebral AVM), spinal cord, lungs
    • Others: Spleen, kidney, liver, intercostal space, iris, spermatic cord, extremities (arm, shoulder, etc)


Mostly congenital, but not hereditary

Associated with:

  • Osler-Weber-Redu disease
    • Autosomal dominant disease involving blood vessels


In an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), blood passes quickly from the artery to vein, disrupting the normal blood flow and depriving the surrounding tissues of oxygen. | Brain AVM (arteriovenous malformation) – Symptoms and causes. (2018). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 16 July 2018, from
In a brain AVM, blood passes directly from your arteries to your veins via abnormal vessels. This disrupts the normal process of how blood circulates through your brain. | Brain AVM (arteriovenous malformation) – Symptoms and causes. (2018). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 16 July 2018, from

Histopathology (autopsy)

Micrograph of an arteriovenous malformation in the brain. HPS stain. | Nephron – CC BY-SA 3.0,

Clinical features

  • Seizures
  • Headache or pain in one area of the head
  • Muscle weakness or numbness in one part of the body

Severe cases:

  • Severe headache
  • Weakness, numbness or paralysis
  • Vision loss
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Confusion or inability to understand others
  • Severe unsteadiness

Case study:


  • Intracerebral haemorrhage
A brain AVM may cause bleeding in the brain (hemorrhage), which can damage the surrounding brain tissue, as shown by this CT scan (left) and illustration (right) of an intracerebral hemorrhage. |




  • CT/MRI angiography (GOLD STANDARD)
  • MRI/CT
  • Flow-dependent or other contrast-free magnetic resonance imaging techniques
    • Determine the location and other properties of the vasculature


Medical management

Radiosurgical management

Endovascular embolization

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