Arteriovenous Malformations: Syndrome Identification and Vascular Management
© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. Purpose of review: Vascular malformations represent a poorly understood set of conditions that create considerable diagnostic and therapeutic confusion. Historically, extensive surgical resections yielded poor results. More recently, the treatment paradigm has shifted to endovascular therapy such that embolization and sclerotherapy are now considered the first line of treatment. Although there is still a role for traditional surgical techniques, it is now most commonly integrated with endovascular therapies in a hybrid fashion. The goal of this review is to provide a greater understanding of the diagnosis and treatment of vascular malformations. Recent findings: Vascular malformations can be high-flow (arteriovenous shunting) or low-flow (venous or lymphatic). Clinical presentation and treatment is different for each. Treatment of high-flow lesions must be directed at reducing or eliminating the nidus, usually via super-selective catheterization and embolization. Low-flow lesions are usually treated by direct injection of sclerosing agents under fluoroscopic or ultrasound guidance. Summary: The cornerstone of managing patients with vascular malformations is making the proper diagnosis, which is often challenging. Even after a diagnosis is made, therapy itself may be challenging and generate frustration among patients and providers. Frequently, the treatment of vascular malformations is characterized by only slow and incremental improvements without complete lesion eradication. By combining a thorough understanding of the vascular malformation disease process with an array of endovascular techniques, vascular interventionalists may contribute greatly to the care of these patients.