Embolization of brain and spine arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs)
An arteriovenous malformation or dural arteriovenous fistula is an abnormality of the blood vessels that causes shunting of blood from an artery to a vein, bypassing normal tissue. This high-flow system may pose a risk for bleeding. Many characteristics of the abnormality may be important in deciding the best management approach. Endovascular embolization therapy is a method of injecting a “liquid embolic” or glue-like material into the target vessel to stop blood flow through the abnormality. A microcatheter (a very small hollow plastic tube) is carefully navigated to the abnormal connection between the artery and the vein. A glue material is then injected through the catheter to fill the abnormal collection of blood vessels, effectively closing the communication. The catheter is removed and the solidified glue remains within the blood vessels to permanently close the abnormality. This procedure may be performed alone or in conjunction with other treatments including open surgical resection or radiosurgery therapy.