What is an arteriovenous malformation?

VCU Baird arteriovenous malformation

Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are defects in the vascular system, most easily described as an abnormal tangle of blood vessels connecting arteries and veins.

The vascular system includes arteries, veins, and capillaries. Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to other organs; veins carry oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart. Capillaries connect the arteries and veins. With an AVM, the tangle of arteries and veins disrupts normal blood flow and oxygen circulation.

According to the Mayo Clinic, when an AVM disrupts this critical process, the surrounding tissues may not get enough oxygen, and the affected arteries and veins can weaken and rupture. If the AVM is in the brain and ruptures, it can cause bleeding in the brain (hemorrhage), stroke or brain damage. While AVMs in other areas of the body are generally not a serious health concern, they can often be inconvenient, painful and unsightly.

AVMs can happen anywhere, but they are more common in the brain or spinal cord. Most people with brain or spinal cord AVMs have few, if any, major symptoms. Sometimes they can cause seizures or headaches.

It’s not clear what causes of AVMs. However, researchers believe most people are born with them, but they can occasionally form later in life. While it’s a rare condition to be passed down among families, there are several rare genetic diseases that are associated with AVMs.

AVMs treated at Baird Vascular Institute at VCU Health include those of located on the extremities as well as various locations on the body including the pelvic region. The Interventional Radiologists and Vascular Surgeons at BVI are well equipped to treat these AVMs. Our capabilities also allow us to handle the primary treatment of AVMs that once may have required prolonged hospitalizations. Today, our image-guided expertise makes outpatient care of these conditions possible. Depending on the location and severity of the AVM, we can generally treat these on an outpatient basis by injecting a sclerosing agent – similar to how we might treat some varicose veins. This has the effect of essentially collapsing the vein(s) and having it stick together which prevents blood flow into that area. The body then naturally reroutes blood flow through other vessels to compensate and to keep surrounding tissue healthy.

If you are concerned and think that you may have an AVM, or you have recently been diagnosed with an AVM and would like to speak with us about your options, give us a call at 804-828-2600.

 

 

5 reasons you should treat varicose veins

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  1. Although varicose veins may not cause problems, sometimes they cause aching pain, throbbing, and discomfort in the legs, and occasionally, varicose veins can lead to more serious health concerns.
  2. The unsightly nature of varicose veins may make patients less likely to engage in warm weather activities they not only enjoy, but are also good methods of exercise, because they are embarrassed by the appearance of their legs.
  3. Treating varicose veins may mean doing away with compression stockings or other restrictive, uncomfortable methods of long-term treatment.
  4. When home remedies such as compression stockings, elevating the legs, and avoiding long periods of continuous standing or sitting are no longer relieving the symptoms, it may be time to consider other options.
  5. Finally, today’s treatments are less invasive, less painful and require much less recovery time than treatments of the past.

What is the patient experience like at VCU Baird?

World-class treatment close to home

Going for treatments like port placement, dialysis access management or appointments for peripheral vascular disease (PVD) doesn’t have to mean a long trip downtown. Patients who need special vascular services can instead take advantage of VCU’s world-class medical services in the near West End at VCU Baird Vascular Institute.

“One of the really unique and special things about VCU Baird is our location and the ease of access that we offer our patients,” said Megan Quinn, manager of VCU Baird. “Within this neighborhood environment, we’re able to bring [patients] the expertise of downtown.”

Located just off Interstate 195 at 205 N. Hamilton Street, VCU Baird is easy to reach from all over the Richmond area. Plenty of access to parking, combined with a friendly neighborhood atmosphere, means patients who may have some physical or time limitations will experience a less-stressful medical visit at VCU Baird.

Patients who use VCU Baird receive the same high-quality treatment from specially trained physicians and caring staff that patients at the main medical center receive. Equipment and techniques are also cutting-edge, so patients receive the best health care available. Plus, patients don’t have to wait long for an appointment.

Services offered at VCU Baird include:

• Port Placement for Cancer Treatment

• Dialysis Access Management

• Peripheral Vascular Disease Treatment

• Vascular Ultrasound

• Cosmetic Vein Procedures

At the VCU Baird Vascular Institute, vascular patients come first. BVI is an ideal place, with our friendly, comfortable outpatient environment and without the hassles of dealing with a hospital operating room.For more information, please call (804) 828-2600 or email bairdvascularinstitute@mcvh-vcu.edu.