Thursday, February 22, 2018 by Zoey Sky
A cavernous angioma is a congenital disorder identified by “a complex, tangled web of arteries and veins” with a short circuit and high pressure caused by arterial blood flowing rapidly in the veins. It is also called a cerebral cavernous venous malformation, arteriovenous malformation (AVM), cavernous haemangioma, or cavernoma.
A cavernous angioma may occur in the brain, brain stem, or spinal cord. Bleeding cavernous angiomas can cause serious neurological problems and even death. However, other patients with cavernous angiomas do not experience any health problems.
Known side effects of a cavernous angioma
In at least 50 percent of individuals with cavernous angiomas, the first symptoms include a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain.
Symptoms of a cavernous angioma that is bleeding include:
- Ear noise/buzzing or pulsatile tinnitus
- Headache in one or more parts of the head similar to a migraine
- Problems walking
Symptoms of pressure on one area of the brain include:
- Muscle weakness in an area of the body or face
- Numbness in an area of the body
- Vision problems
Body systems harmed by a cavernous angioma
Complications of a cavernous angioma include:
- Bleeding in the brain/hemorrhage — The rupturing and bleeding of delicate blood vessels in the brain may occur as a cavernous angioma, and this can put great pressure on vessel walls. This might make the vessel walls thinner and weaker over time,”making them more likely to spontaneously bleed.”
- Brain damage — If a patient has a “relatively symptom-free” cavernous angioma, it can grow bigger as they age. If it gets big enough, it might even displace or compress parts of the brain. This can prevent the flow of the protective fluid that usually surrounds the brain, and it can cause fluid build-up that increases pressure within the skull. This can cause hydrocephalus in young children.
- Reduced oxygen to brain tissue — Cavernous angiomas can make blood bypass capillaries, or the network of smaller blood vessels. These small vessels are a significant part of the vascular system because they innervate organs and tissue and supply them with the oxygen and nutrients that they need. If the brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen, its tissue may weaken or die. This can cause ischemic damage, which can result in stroke-like symptoms.
- Thin or weak blood vessels — This may be due to the increased pressure caused by a cavernous angioma. Thin or weak blood vessels can make the blood vessel bulge and develop into an aneurysm, which can rupture.
Food items or nutrients that may prevent a cavernous angioma
These foods or nutrients can help prevent a cavernous angioma:
- Avocados — Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat, which aids the flow of healthy blood in the brain.
- Blueberries — This fruit is rich in antioxidants. Blueberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress and can reduce the effects of age-related conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
- Eggs — Egg yolks are full of choline, a nutrient similar to vitamin B. The brain uses choline to make acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that can help maintain memory and communication in the brain cells.
- Kale and other cruciferous vegetables — Cruciferous vegetables have antioxidants that can help protect the brain from toxic free radicals.
Treatments, management plans for a cavernous angioma
Treatment and management options for a cavernous angioma includes:
- Embolization — Embolization refers to when a type of glue is inserted into a cavernous angioma via a catheter (a very thin tube). This blocks blood flow into the cavernous angioma, which can help limit blood loss during surgery and slow blood flow to reduce the chance of bleeding if open surgery is not performed immediately afterward.
- Radiosurgery — During radiation treatment, beams of highly energized photons or light particles will be aimed at a cavernous angioma via a Gamma Knife. This will gradually make a cavernous angioma shrink and scar. It will close down abnormal blood vessels so that blood no longer flows through them. This will reduce the risk of bleeding, and it might also make it easier to treat a cavernous angioma with open surgical techniques.
- Surgery — Surgical resection can help remove the tangled blood vessels. The surgeon will oversee a procedure called a craniotomy to reach the brain, and a small opening will be created in the skull. Once the surgeon has access to the cavernous angioma, the abnormal arteries and veins are removed. This redirects blood flow to normal vessels, preventing the cavernous angioma from leaking or bursting.
Where to learn more
A cavernous angioma is a congenital disorder characterized by “a complex, tangled web of arteries and veins” with a short circuit and high pressure caused by arterial blood flowing rapidly in the veins.
Symptoms of a cavernous angioma that is bleeding include confusion, ear noise/buzzing or pulsatile tinnitus, and seizures. Symptoms of pressure on one area of the brain include dizziness, numbness in an area of the body, and vision problems.
Complications of a cavernous angioma include hemorrhage, brain damage, reduced oxygen to brain tissue, and thin or weak blood vessels.
These foods or nutrients can help prevent a cavernous angioma: avocados, blueberries, eggs, and cruciferous vegetables.
Treatment and management options for a cavernous angioma includes embolization, radiosurgery, and surgery.