Birth defects that affect arteries or veins are known as vascular malformations. These can cause problems in blood flow if they are severe enough to prevent oxygenated blood to travel effectively to all points in the body.
Even though most vascular malformations are present at birth, most patients with them do not exhibit symptoms until they at least 20 years of age. Even more concerning is the fat that people with the condition do not usually learn that they have it until a blood vessel ruptures or hemorrhages, or they have a stroke. On the less severe end of the spectrum, patients can develop headaches, seizures, or various neurological problems developing from vascular malformations.
Risk Factors for Vascular Malformations
The cause of vascular malformations is nearly always from congenital defects, although in very rare cases they can be caused by trauma.
Treating Vascular Malformations
Because the types of vascular malformations can vary greatly, treatments are tailored to each type of malformation, in large part influenced by the location of the malformation and its potential risks. Treatments range from surgical options, to embolization or radiosurgery to permanently block an affected blood vessel.