An arteriovenous malformation, or AVM for short, is a group of blood vessels that are abnormally interconnected with one another. AVMs can occur in different organs of the body, but brain AVMs are the most problematic. Another term for AVM is "arteriovenous fistula."
Most people with neurological AVMs experience few, if any, significant symptoms, and the malformations tend to be discovered only incidentally, usually either at autopsy or during treatment for an unrelated disorder. But for about 12 percent of the affected population (about 36,000 of the estimated 300,000 Americans with AVMs), these abnormalities cause symptoms that vary greatly in severity. For a small fraction of the individuals within this group, such symptoms are severe enough to become debilitating or even life-threatening.
Treatment depends on the location and size of the AVM and whether there is bleeding or not. Most likey you will have one or more MRIs to determine all the specifics of your AVM.
For those of you out there are a litte apprehensive or even scared about going to your first MRI appointment, I created a small simulator to show what one is like:
Treatment is offered is to try to prevent bleeding from the AVM. Bleeding may injure the surrounding brain resulting in a stroke , with possible permanent disability or even death. The risk of bleeding is 4% per year, which means that 4 out of every 100 people with an AVM will have a bleed (hemorrhage) during any one year. AVM's may also produce headaches, seizures and progressive paralysis, and the treatment may alleviate these symptoms.
Anyone can be born with a brain AVM, but these factors may be a risk:
We’re going to use this blog to update everyone on what’s happening with Jonathan’s surgery preparation, surgery and recovery over the coming months.
Some basic info on how to use the site:
We’ve broken the site into 3 categories — General Info, Surgery Updates and Recovery Updates. This way you can click on the category (either in the sidebar to the right, in the dropdown menu or below each post it tells you what category that post is in and you can click it there) to get the latest info.
It seems like an easy task to make a computer application that shows simple pictures to a non-verbal person to point and convey a need or concept. The major hurdle is when you fold in both apraxia and aphasia - where words and even visuals do not match what a person wants to convey. For me, I knew what a bannana and a hairbrush were but I could not point to which one was which.