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Arteriovenous Malformation


An arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is an abnormal connection between arteries and veins. The connection becomes tangled. Blood flows too quickly from the arteries and pushes on the walls of the veins. The walls weaken and become narrow (stenosis). The artery walls also become weak. They begin to bulge from blood that is not able to go into the narrow veins. A brain AVM affects the blood vessels of the brain. An AVM can also affect other organs as well. A brain AVM that has not burst usually causes no symptoms, or may cause headaches or seizures. If it bursts, blood leaks into surrounding tissue, and may cause a stroke. The blood leaking can also cause your brain to swell.


Call or have someone else call 911 if:

  • You have any of the following signs of a stroke:
    • Numbness or drooping on one side of your face
    • Weakness in an arm or leg
    • Confusion or difficulty speaking
    • Dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss
  • You have a seizure.
  • You have the worst headache of your life.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have repeated headaches in one area of your head.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Arteriovenous Malformation (Discharge Care)

Associated drugs

Micromedex® Care Notes