Arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is a condition that affects the blood vessels in your circulatory system. In the human body, arteries carry oxygenated blood from your heart to your brain, while veins carry deoxygenated blood from the brain back to the heart. If you suffer from AVM, it means that the veins and arteries are tangled, interfering with your body’s ability to properly circulate blood.
The circulatory system is composed of arteries, veins and capillaries. The job of the capillaries is to connect the arteries and veins. In the case of an AVM, the arteries and veins are connected directly, which causes the arteries to divert blood directly to the veins and bypass the brain tissue that needs that blood.
Arteriovenous malformations are rare, and the cause is unknown. They are congenital conditions, meaning that they are present from birth. They can occur anywhere in the body, but are found most often in the brain or spinal cord.
Symptoms of an arteriovenous malformation vary, depending on the size and location of the AVM, as well as the size of the blood vessels affected by the AVM. Most people who have an arteriovenous malformation in their brain tend to have few symptoms, which means that their AVM may go unnoticed and therefore undiagnosed until life-threatening symptoms appear, including:
If you suffer from an AVM in your spinal cord or limbs, you may experience:
These symptoms can be a sign of an urgent medical issue stemming from AVM. AVM prevents the tissues around it from getting the oxygen required to thrive, which can weaken the affected arteries and veins, and eventually cause them to rupture. A ruptured AVM in the brain can result in a brain hemorrhage, brain damage, or even a fatal stroke.
The greatest danger posed by an arteriovenous malformation is the potential for hemorrhaging, therefore obtaining a correct diagnosis and undergoing appropriate treatment is vital. The most effective way to diagnose an AVM, especially one located in the brain, is by performing a CT scan or an MRI scan on your brain. Not only can these tests detect the AVM, but they can provide information to your doctor about the size, location, and whether there is any bleeding. In some cases, a cerebral angiogram may be necessary in order for the doctor to identify the type of AVM, so that they can determine what treatment will be most beneficial. Once you have been correctly diagnosed, an AVM can often be successfully treated, reducing or preventing future complications.
There are several treatments available, each of which depends on the size, type and location of the AVM. When deciding if your condition is treatable, your doctor will consider these factors, as well as whether the AVM is in an area of your brain that is easily accessed for treatment. Some of the treatment options for an AVM include medication, surgery, and interventional neuroradiology, all of which can be effective depending on the severity of your condition.
If you have been diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation, call IVC today at 503-612-0498 to schedule an appointment with one of our team of experienced and professional interventional radiologists.
This is for Dr. Pfister. I just wanted to thank him for all the time he spent with us the other week. In all the years I’ve had my vascular problems I’ve never had a doctor really sit down and explain to me the intricacies of what might be going on. I have a lot to think about…but just wanted to say thanks for being so nice and answering our many questions!L.H.
A fantastic group of wonderful people. The procedure was very smooth. When they were putting the port in I felt like I was getting a great massage!! Thank you all!S.C.
Charley was instrumental in getting me scheduled in quickly to get my PICC line removed. She actually worked until late in the day to get the information from my referring doctor’s office. It is nice to know great people like Charley still exist in this world!K.S.
I had my blood clot filter removed on 2/21/18. I was very apprehensive, yet EVERYONE in Dr. Pfister’s office and surgical team helped to make me comfortable. I am extremely claustrophobic so laying down or having something covering my face creates anxiety. Mary Anne listened to my concerns and made sure I was made comfortable and did not feel anxious. The surgical team was amazing, they explained everything thoroughly. Dr. Pfister came in after the procedure to review what he did and discuss any follow up that might be required. I so appreciate the time and attention he gives me as his patient. This was a positive experience.G.H.
110% Thank You! Best unit so far in my cancer treatment. Thanks Dr. LoveAnonymous
If you ever need an Interventional Radiologist for a child I realize it is serious business. I’ve seen Dr. Love go and save a child’s kidney without missing a beat. I could recommend no one better for myself, or for people I love. I think he is a little cool at the bedside, but that’s OK Dr. Love, stay frosty! If you can’t see Dr. Love, one of the other professionals at IVC will be able to help you. Ashley, the dynamite scheduler and one of the other surgeons at IVC will care for you. I’ve had multiple surgeries with this practice over the past several years. Never a hiccup!S. R. – Portland, OR
Great experience, doctor was thorough in explaining what was going to happen. The nurses were very attentive and made sure I was comfortable and my needs were met. I would recommend this office for any related procedure.Anonymous
Everything went very smoothly. Joe enjoyed the music. Very friendly staff! Good Experience!J. & E.
All staff was courteous and efficient. Good experience.J. J.
Dr. Pfister, thanks so much for your excellent care, removing my chemo port earlier this week. With all your experience and your fine touch, I’m confident the scar will be nearly invisible. Your team, from beginning to end, did a super job with me. Please extend my gratitude to Jennifer, Mary Anne, Todd and Charley. I’ve got a whole lot of living left to do. I appreciate all of you helping me do it!M. F.
Dr. Pfister, thank you for all of the attention you gave to me. I learned lots from our discussion – hearing you speak of ultimate healing was enough to encourage me to do all I can to strengthen those muscles.S. O.
The entire office is one of the most professional, helpful and informative medical offices I have dealt with (and I have dealt with many). Kudos to Jennifer, Henry, and Charley!K. C.
Great people. Great place. Good surgery.G. G.
Patty, Mary Anne and the whole staff was amazing! Best experience I’ve had since being diagnosed with cancer. From start to finish, was great. Thanks.M
My brother came into Legacy Meridian Park, had a stroke. Dr. Bauer came in immediately, in his work jeans and shirt. He worked with Neurologist Dr. Burbank, developed a plan and took my brother into a procedure where they removed the clot from his head! Very down to earth doctor, explained procedure to family, worked with sense of urgency.J. P.
I want to comment regarding Dr. Bauer of how he was thorough explaining my CT Biopsy and showing me how on the computer he would get the tissue needed. In all the years of several surgeries I have never felt better going in to have a procedure done. His bedside manner was incredible. I wish all doctors were like Dr. Bauer. Thank you for preparing and relaxing me prior to the biopsy.R.S. Molalla OR
Everyone did a superb job taking care of me and doing the procedure. Thank You AllK.S.
Dr. Bauer genuinely cares about his patients and strives to make sure they understand every aspect of their treatment.A. L.
Dr. Bauer, our family wants you to know how thankful we are to you for saving G.P.’s life and bringing him back to us in normal health. Thank you over and over you are the best!Family of G. P.