Arteriovenous Malformations
Signs and Symptoms

Children who are born with arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) may not experience symptoms for many years. In fact, symptoms may occur anywhere between age 10 and 40.

Symptoms, however, can occur at any age, as in the most severe forms of the disease, called a Vein of Galen Malformation. This condition may cause symptoms at birth or very soon after. Symptoms may include swelling of the brain, seizures, failure to thrive, congestive heart failure and swollen veins.

Each child may experience symptoms differently, depending on the location of the AVM. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Abnormal sensations, such as numbness, tingling or spontaneous pain
  • Dizziness
  • Headache, varying in severity, duration and intensity
  • Loss of coordination, known as ataxia
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis in one part of the body
  • Seizures, which may be partial or total and may cause a loss of movement and consciousness as well as convulsions
  • Stroke
  • Visual disturbances, such as partial loss of eye sight or eye moment control

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Pediatric Brain Center

Intensive Care Nursery
1975 Fourth St., Third Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-1565
Fax: (415) 353-1202

Neuro-Intensive Care Nursery (NICN)
1975 Fourth St., Third Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-1565
Fax: (415) 353-1202

Stroke & Cerebrovascular Disease Center
1825 Fourth St., Fifth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-7596
Fax: (415) 353-2400
Appointment information

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Patient Experiences