Arteriovenous Malformations – A Basic Introduction

Dr. Badih Adada pic

Dr. Badih Adada

Dr. Badih Adada, a member of the surgical team at the Cleveland Clinic, has earned widespread recognition for his expertise in neurosurgery. Dr. Badih Adada performs extremely complex procedures, such as those that treat arteriovenous malformations.

In a healthy brain, arteries deliver fully oxygenated blood, and veins return blood to the heart after cells have used the oxygen that they need. In patients with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), however, there is a tangle of blood vessels, called a nidus, causing the blood to move directly from arteries to veins. The veins then carry fully oxygenated blood back to the heart, and the tissues do not receive the oxygen they need to survive.

Without a sufficient supply of oxygen, brain tissues can suffer and experience cell death. The condition can also lead to the weakening of blood vessels, which can burst and cause dangerous, life-threatening hemorrhages.

Treatment most often involves surgery, endovascular embolization or focused radiation therapy, depending on the location and type of the AVM. Surgery requires the removal of the central area of the AVM, for smaller AVMs, focused radiosurgery is sometimes enough to permanently close up the affected vessels.