An arteriovenous malformation is a direct meshing of abnormal blood vessels directly connecting arteries to veins in the brain. It is a hereditary condition and often goes unnoticed until later in life, when it becomes symptomatic. An Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) can form almost anywhere in the brain, brainstem, or spinal cord; however, the most likely position for an AVM is the cererbal hemispheres.
Diagnosis of an Arteriovenous Malformation
Unless a person has a familial history of AVM, the most likely diagnosis of an arteriovenous malformation is often after a person with AVM has a haemorrhagic stroke, resulting in further investigations (such as CT and MRI where it is first identified).
Treatment of a AVM includes surgical removal and radiotherapy.
As a paramedic, it is important to understand the pathophysiology of an arteriovenous malformation, because in a certain percentage of the stroke victims you treat, this condition will be present (although it may not have been diagnosed yet). It is also important to understand some of the common treatment strategies for AVM, due to the likelihood that you will be treating and transporting these patients on a regular basis.