Cavernous Malformation

A cavernous malformation is an abnormal formation of blood vessels in the brain or spinal cord. Blood leakage (hemorrhage) from the blood vessels can occur. Cavernous malformation is a rare disorder but is more common in people of Hispanic origin. This condition is not always life-threatening.

CAUSES

Cavernous malformation is often passed down from parent to child (inherited).

SYMPTOMS

Cavernous malformation symptoms can include:

  • Seizures. This is due to the cavernous malformation causing irritation to the brain.

  • Headaches, stroke, or stroke-like symptoms. This is caused by a hemorrhage.

  • Nausea and vomiting.

DIAGNOSIS

A cavernous malformation is diagnosed by imaging scans. These include:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

  • Computed tomography (CT) scans.

TREATMENT

Treatment of a cavernous malformation depends on whether or not symptoms occur. Treatment options include:

  • Supportive care. This means treatment focuses on relieving your symptoms. A cavernous malformation does not always need treatment though it should be followed by a neurosurgeon.

  • Seizure medicine. Seizure medicine may be used if the cavernous malformation is the cause of seizures.

  • Surgery. It is important to know that surgery can be risky if the cavernous malformation is in a hard to reach area of the brain.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have a headache that does not go away.

  • You have dizziness or loss of balance.

  • You have nausea and vomiting.

  • You have questions about medicine you are taking or your condition.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You may be having a stroke, or you are having stroke-like symptoms. Call your local emergency services (911 in U.S.) immediately if you have:

  • Weakness or numbness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.

  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.

  • Trouble talking (aphasia), or you are slurring your words.

  • Sudden confusion or difficulty understanding.

  • You have a sudden, severe headache.

  • You have seizures, or your seizures are not controlled with your seizure medicine.