A brain AVM is an abnormal connection between arteries and veins in your brain. Doctors believe that a brain AVM develops during fetal development. Why this occurs in some babies and not others is unknown.
Normally, your heart sends oxygen-rich blood to your brain through arteries, which branch into smaller arterioles and subsequently to the smallest blood vessels (capillaries). Oxygen is removed from blood in the capillaries and used by your brain.
The oxygen-depleted blood then passes into small venules and then into larger veins that drain the blood from your brain, returning it to your heart and lungs to get more oxygen.
If you have 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.
Mar. 21, 2014
- Arteriovenous malformations and other vascular lesions of the central nervous system fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/avms/detail_avms.htm. Accessed Sept. 4, 2013.
- What is an arteriovenous malformation? http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/TypesofStroke/HemorrhagicBleeds/What-Is-an-Arteriovenous-Malformation-AVM_UCM_310099_Article.jsp. American Stroke Association. Accessed Sept. 6, 2013.
- Singer RJ. Brain arteriovenous malformations. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 6, 2013.
- Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed Sept. 10, 2013.
- Riggin EA. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 16, 2013.
- Brown RD (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 11, 2013.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.