Vascular malformation in Denver, CO

Vascular malformation or arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is a rare condition in which the blood vessels of the brain or spine are abnormally tangled. This can disrupt normal blood flow and may also lead to bleeding in the brain.

At Swedish Medical Center, our Vascular Malformation Center, led by Dr. Wayne Yakes, specializes in the diagnosis and management of vascular irregularities in all parts of the body. The Vascular Malformation Center is the only center in the world solely dedicated to the management of vascular malformations.

Who is affected by AVM

Many people with AVMs do not experience any symptoms and are treated only after discovering the condition with an imaging scan for another brain issue or if the blood vessels rupture and cause bleeding in the brain. Some patients experience seizure, headache, muscle weakness or numbness, confusion or inability to understand others, difficulty speaking and vision loss.

Trauma, surgery, hormonal influences caused by birth control pills and the hormonal swings during puberty and pregnancy may cause AVMs to change or worsen.

Advanced treatment options at Swedish

At Swedish, our approach is curative. Our team reviews each case to determine the best course of treatment for the individual. We utilize ethyl alcohol to block intertwining veins and arteries inside the AVM from growing. This improves the patient’s quality of life and prevents the extreme alternative of amputation while allowing permanency. Other options may include radiation therapy and surgical removal. Not all embolic agents destroy an AVM, nor does surgery provide permanency in shutting down the growth.