Cerebral AVMs often have no symptoms until they rupture and hemorrhage. Some patients do experience symptoms without a rupture — this tends to happen in middle age, and slightly more often in men than in women. Symptoms include:
The symptoms of a dural AVM include:
Symptoms of a spinal AVM include:
The most frequent — and serious — signs of a brain AVM are the symptoms of an intracranial or subarachnoid hemorrhage, or bleeding in the brain, which is a neurological emergency that requires immediate care (see Diagnosing and Treating an AVM). Nearly 50 percent of patients with an AVM will have the malformation identified only after a hemorrhage. These symptoms may start with a sudden-onset headache, often described as "the worst headache in my life," the sudden onset of seizures, and may also include:
Use our online form to request an appointment with one of our cerebrovascular neurosurgeons, who have advanced expertise in treating AVMs and other vascular conditions of the brain and spine.
Reviewed by: Justin Schwarz, MD
Last reviewed/last updated: August 2021