Vein of Galen Malformation

In some cases, a vein of Galen malformation (VOGM) may be detected by an ultrasound before a baby is born. However, in many instances, the VOGM is not discovered until after birth when the baby begins to experience heart failure.

To determine if a VOGM is the cause of the heart failure or other symptoms your baby may be experiencing, the following tests may be used:

  • Angiogram — This is an important test in the diagnosis of VOGM and involves a special X-ray exam that enables a radiologist, a doctor who specializes in understanding and interpreting X-rays, to study a person's blood vessels and organs. Your child's doctor will insert a small tube, called a catheter, into the blood vessel and then inject a special dye that makes the vessels visible on the X-rays. This will allow the doctor to observe how the blood travels through the blood vessels of the brain. The procedure takes about one hour.
  • Computed Tomography (CT) — A CT scan is a method of body imaging in which a thin X-ray beam rotates around the patient. It can be used to detect the presence of blood in the brain. In addition, three-dimensional models of organs can be created by stacking the individual images.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) — An MRI scan can detect if there is blood in the brain. It is a non-invasive procedure that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to construct pictures of the body.

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

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Pediatric Brain Center

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