VASCULAR AND ENDOVASCULAR SURGERY
Embolization of Pulmonary Arteriovenous Malformations
A pulmonary arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is an abnormal connection between the pulmonary arteries and pulmonary veins (the arteries and veins which connect the lung and the heart). Normally, arteries and veins connect through the capillary system, which filter the blood. But when a pulmonary AVM appears, the artery bypasses the capillary system. Instead, it connects directly to a vein, which allows bacteria and small blood clots to pass directly to an organ. Although many AVMs are asymptomatic, they can cause intense pain or bleeding or lead to other serious medical problems.
Embolization cuts off the blood supply to the AVM with coils, particles, or glue introduced by a radiographically guided catheter. The treatment can be used in addition to either neurosurgery or radiation therapy, to increase the likelihood of success.