Cerebrovascular Anomalies

Cerebrovascular anomalies are conditions characterized by malformed blood vessels that can lead to hemorrhages, strokes, blood clots, and other complications. They often are treated by surgery. Neurosurgeons operate on cerebrovascular anomalies in order to restore normal blood flow to the brain and reduce these risks. Examples of cerebrovascular anomalies are:

  • Aneurysm
  • Arterial dissection
  • Arteriorvenous fistulae
  • Arteriovenous malformation
  • Cavernous malformation
  • Hemangioma
  • Moyamoya syndrome
  • PHACE Syndrome
  • Vein of Galen malformation
  • Venous sinus thrombosis

When symptoms are recognized early, there’s a better chance of recovery

In some cases, a large facial hemangioma may indicate an underlying cerebrovascular anomaly, however, most cerebrovascular anomalies are not visible without the use of neuroimaging expertise. In other instances, a condition may not be evident until a medical emergency, such as a stroke, occurs. That’s why it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms and get help for your child as quickly as possible.

Some strokes can be “silent,” or cause no symptoms. Stroke symptoms depend on what part of the brain is affected. Below are signs and symptoms of stroke in children:

  • Difficulty talking
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Onset of lethargy or difficulty walking
  • Seizure
  • Stiff neck or neck pain
  • Sudden collapse
  • Sudden loss of consciousness
  • Sudden loss of movement or weakness of face, arm, or leg
  • Sudden severe headache
  • Vomiting

For more information on cerebrovascular anomalies, please visit the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh website.