Join us at an upcoming Aneurysm-AVM Support Group meeting.
View meeting location and dates>
Our surgeons are among the most experienced in the world in treating an array of neurosurgical conditions.
Read about our surgical team >
An arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is a congenital defect between the arteries and veins. The condition affects the connection between these blood vessels, and disrupts the flow of blood between them.
Although this defect can occur anywhere, AVMs are most common in the brain or spine.
It is common for people not to know that they have an arteriovenous malformation for many years — or even until they reach adulthood.
You may not know that you have an AVM in your brain until you experience symptoms. A ruptured AVM is a medical emergency.
At UPMC, we are committed to finding the best treatment approach for you, maximizing the benefits of surgery while minimizing the risks.
Possible treatments for an arteriovenous malformation include:
An arteriovenous malformation may not be diagnosed until you experience symptoms, or until the AVM ruptures.
Symptoms of an arteriovenous malformation in the brain include:
Symptoms of a ruptured arteriovenous malformation are similar to those of a stroke. They include:
Your physician will order imaging studies to confirm that there is an arteriovenous malformation. These tests may include:
UPMC neurosurgeons may recommend a combination of surgical and non-surgical approaches to treat arteriovenous malformations.
UPMC offers three treatment options for AVMs, giving patients the best chance for a cure.
Some AVMs can be treated by microsurgical resection, where a doctor will:
Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a painless procedure that uses hundreds of highly focused radiation beams to target tumors and lesions within the brain, with no surgical incision.
Gamma Knife treatment is a minimally invasive management option especially for deep-seated and high surgical risk AVMs. It can be used as the primary treatment or following surgery or embolization to treat any remaining AVM.
As the nation's leading provider of Gamma Knife procedures, UPMC has treated more than 12,000 patients with tumors, vascular malformations, pain, and other functional problems.
Endovascular embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the threading of a small catheter or tube through a blood vessel in the groin, which is then navigated to blood vessels in the brain to block blood flow.
Small coils or detachable silicon balloons are guided through the arteries to stop the abnormal blood flow to the AVM.
How can we help you?
Schedule anappointment >
Ask a question >
Request our expertopinion >
1-877-986-9862(within the U.S.)
When John Lynch was diagnosed with a potentially fatal brain disorder 25 years ago, he turned to groundbreaking Gamma Knife Radiosurgery at UPMC.
Read more >
Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by
A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.
For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.
UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.
Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.
For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com