Arteriovenous malformation (AVM)

Arteriovenous fistula (AVF), angioma, arteriovenous anomaly, cavernous malformation, venous malformation, pulmonary arteriovenous malformations (PAVM)

What is arteriovenous malformation (AVM)?

An AVM is a tangle of blood vessels which connect arteries and veins in abnormal ways.

AVMs can occur in the brain, spine, lungs, kidneys and the skin.

Many are small and do not cause issues, but if they grow they can cause problems. They can also put pressure on the heart and damage body tissue which isn’t getting the blood supply it needs.

If the AVM ruptures, it can cause a brain haemorrhage or stroke.

What causes arteriovenous malformation?

People are usually born with an AVM. To diagnose this condition, your GP will take note of your symptoms and you will undergo CT and MRI scans.

If the AVM cannot be managed with regular scans, your doctor may refer you for coiling surgery or a craniotomy to disconnect the AVM.

What are the symptoms of arteriovenous malformation?

It is common to experience no symptoms at all. However, symptoms of an AVM may include:

  • Speech and sight problems
  • Bleeding in the skull
  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Muscle weakness

Are you affected by Arteriovenous malformation (AVM)?

If you’re affected by arteriovenous malformation, The Brain Charity can support you.

We are the only charity in the UK to be here for every one of the more than 600 different neurological conditions in existence. Individually, many are rare, but combined, they affect 1 in 6 people.

We provide practical help on all aspects of living with arteriovenous malformation, emotional support such as counselling, phone befriending and group therapy and social activities to people with arteriovenous malformation from all over the UK from our centre in Liverpool.

Looking to talk to someone?

Woman smiling, making eye contact and holding the hand of another woman to comfort her

Phone us

Contact The Brain Charity now

Our friendly Information & Advice Officers are here to help. We endeavour to respond to all enquiries within 10 working days.

0151 298 2999

Looking to talk to someone?

  • Please tell us which neurological condition you are affected by and what you need support with.

Caring for someone affected by Arteriovenous malformation (AVM)

If you think a loved one is experiencing symptoms associated with an AVM, encourage them to seek immediate medical attention.

We support carers, friends and family too

Are you a carer for or relative of someone with arteriovenous malformation? It’s just as important for you to look after your own physical and mental wellbeing too.

The Brain Charity provides free support for carers, friends and family of people with any form of neurological condition, including arteriovenous malformation, from anywhere in the UK.

We also run an additional carers advocacy service for all carers in Liverpool, regardless of which type of condition the person they care for has.

You don’t need to be a formal or registered carer

We can help you even if you don’t view yourself as a formal carer or claim Carer’s Allowance. Find out some of the ways we support carers below.

Other resources

The Brain Charity's library

The Brain Charity's library has a range of resources on AVM and on many other disability-related issues.

Visit our library to read The Brain & Spine Foundation’s booklet Vascular Malformations of the Brain, or search the catalogue online here.

Support groups

AVM Survivors

AVM Survivors is a global support community with forums for people affected by AVM to communicate.

Click here to find out more.

Support groups at The Brain Charity

Are you interested in setting up an AVM support group, or do you already run one? Email to let us know.

Alternatively, you can check out our list of related support groups here.

Other charities

Butterfly AVM Charity

Butterfly AVM Charity helps improve the lives of those living with AVM and their families.