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Arteriovenous Malformation

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What is an arteriovenous malformation (AVM)?

An 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. The artery walls also become weak. They begin to bulge from blood that is not able to go into the narrow veins. An AVM that has not burst usually causes no symptoms, or may cause headaches or seizures. A burst AVM may cause blood to leak into surrounding tissue, and may lead to a stroke. The leaked blood can also cause your brain to swell.

Arteriovenous Malformation

What are the warning signs of a stroke?

The word F.A.S.T. can help you remember and recognize warning signs of a stroke.

How is an AVM diagnosed?

An AVM that has not burst may be found only when your healthcare providers are doing tests for other conditions. Your provider will ask about your medical conditions and examine you. You may also need any of the following tests. You may be given contrast liquid to help arteries and veins show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.

How is an AVM treated?

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

What can I do to prevent a stroke?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) or have someone else call if:

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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