What is the role of arteriovenous malformations in the etiology of hemorrhagic stroke?

Updated: Apr 22, 2019
  • Author: David S Liebeskind, MD, FAAN, FAHA, FANA; Chief Editor: Andrew K Chang, MD, MS  more...
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Numerous genetic causes may predispose to AVMs in the brain, although AVMs are generally sporadic. Polymorphisms in the IL6 gene increase susceptibility to a number of disorders, including AVM. Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT), previously known as Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome, is an autosomal dominant disorder that causes dysplasia of the vasculature. HHT is caused by mutations in ENG, ACVRL1, or SMAD4 genes. Mutations in SMAD4 are also associated with juvenile polyposis, so this must be considered when obtaining the patient’s history.

HHT is most frequently diagnosed when patients present with telangiectasias on the skin and mucosa or with chronic epistaxis from AVMs in the nasal mucosa. Additionally, HHT can result in AVMs in any organ system or vascular bed. AVM in the gastrointestinal tract, lungs, and brain are the most worrisome, and their detection is the mainstay of surveillance for this disease.

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