AVM Awareness

Published: Mar. 9, 2007 at 11:01 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 12, 2007 at 11:15 PM CDT
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If you're healthy but suddenly start getting migraine-type headaches, trip or fall... Pay attention, it could be your brain telling you something is wrong.

57-year old linda christianson is fine now, but two years ago when she tripped on the stairs and then stumbled while walking, her family knew something was wrong. Linda christianson says, "the two incidents happened within a week of each other and then i saw the physician about eight days after that."

An m-r-i showed a problem in the front section of linda's brain. She had a cluster of abnormally formed blood vessels and was diagnosed with a-v-m. Doctor david w. Newell says, "i describe it to patients or interested individuals as a tangle of blood vessels in the brain. It kind of looks like a nest of snakes that you would see in some of the old medieval drawings." doctor david newell treats 30 to 40 a-v-m patients a year.

When veins are tangled, they can rupture and cause bleeding in the brain. Removal through surgery is one option. Doctor david w. Newell says, "once the avm is successfully treated and safely removed and patients do well, they should expect to have a normal lifespan." linda's a-v-m was in the front, "silent" area of her brain... Away from critical structures that affect speech or sensory and motor function.

David w. Newell says, "avm's really form in all different locations of the brain, they're probably a little bit more common in the frontal regions, but they can form in any part of the brain." linda christianson says, "i don't think a lot of patients are as lucky as i've been. I mean, i had an early diagnosis, i had a phenomenal surgeon. They took care of it and my recovery's been terrific." linda is active again... Biking, hiking, and skiing with her family.