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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Intracranial arteriovenous malformation

Other Names for this Disease
  • Intracranial AVM
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Your Question

My sister died of a massive stroke caused by an AVM in her early 60's. Since we had the same parents, what are the chances that I may have this condition?  I am experiencing numbness in both arms at night. The numbness wakes me several times a night. Are there any possible connections?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

If my sister had an arteriovenous malformation, what are the chances that I have this condition?

While it is possible that having a first degree relative with a brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) affects your risk for an AVM, this risk is likely very small. Currently the cause of brain AVM's is not known. Likewise, the role specific genes and/or environmental factors play in the development of these malformations is not known. There have been rare reports of brain AVMs occurring in more than one member of the same family. It is not known whether or not these cases were coincidental.[1] 

If a relative has more than one AVM, or a history of nose bleeds (or more serious hemorrhage), telangiectasias, and iron deficiency anemia, a diagnosis of the rare genetic syndrome hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) should be considered.[1] Relatives risk for HHT can be as high as 50% or 1 in 2, however risk for serious events, like stroke, will vary.

Last updated: 1/23/2013

Is nocturnal numbness in the arms a sign of arteriovenous malformation?

While numbness in any part of the body can be a sign of an AVM, we were unable to find information regrading numbness in the arms at night (or while lying down) specifically related to arteriovenous malformation. We recommend that you work with your healthcare providers in determining the cause of your numbness.
Last updated: 1/23/2013

  • Singer RJ, Ogilvy CS, Rordorf G. Brain arteriovenous malforamtions. In: Basow DS. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate; 2013;