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Devices Interventional Neurology Radiology

 News Release - December 14, 2006

Nonsurgical Treatment for Arteriovenous Malformations

Neurological AVMs Affect Approximately 300,000 Americans

FAIRFAX, Va., Dec. 14 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- The condition for which Senator Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota) was hospitalized, arteriovenous malformation (AVM), can be treated nonsurgically by interventional radiologists. AVMs are blood vessel abnormalities that if left untreated, can rupture causing life- threatening bleeding. Interventional radiologists can often treat these abnormalities without surgery by using imaging to guide a catheter inside the body to the site of disease and then inject blocking agents (beads, glue, or coils) that block the supply of blood. This treatment, embolization, removes the risk of rupture/hemorrhage.

"As nonsurgical vascular experts, interventional radiologists can stop the blood flow of a ruptured arteriovenous malformation. This prevents additional damage to the brain, as well as provides neurosurgeons with a clear line of sight for their repair or curative procedure," explained Director of Interventional Radiology, Robert L. Vogelzang, M.D., at Northwestern University in Chicago. "Often, nonsurgical embolization is the sole treatment for AMVs. Interventional radiologists use embolization to also treat uterine fibroids, cancer, male infertility, post-partum hemorrhage, gun shot wounds, and ischemic strokes."

About AVMs

AVMs are defects that occur during fetal development due to the failure of blood vessels to "differentiate" into arteries, veins and capillaries in the circulatory system. Instead, a primitive tangle of abnormal blood vessels develops. The AVMs steal blood away from other organs, create pressure on the brain, cause blood clots and have a strong propensity for causing bleeding. The bleeding is due to the high pressure that builds in the abnormal blood vessels which cause it to dilate, stretch and eventually rupture. AVMs are vascular malformations that appear in arteries.

About the Society of Interventional Radiology

Interventional radiologists are board-certified physicians who specialize in minimally invasive, targeted treatments. They use X-rays, MRI and other imaging to advance a catheter in the body, usually in an artery, to treat at the source of the disease non-surgically. They are certified in Vascular & Interventional Radiology. As the inventors of angioplasty and the catheter- delivered stent, interventional radiologists pioneered minimally invasive modern medicine, and provide treatments that offer less risk, less pain and less recovery time compared to open surgery. More information can be found at

Source: Society of Interventional Radiology

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