Cavernomas, also known as cavernous angiomas or cavernous malformations are abnormal clusters of blood vessels with small bubbles or caverns filled with blood give them the look of a berry. These berry like substances range from microscopic to several inches in diameter. Unlike AVMs or arteriovenous malformations, the flow of blood is very low in cavernomas. Since the cavernomas wall are very weak, chances of blood leaking out are high. Cavernomas can occur in the brain and in the spinal cord. While a cavernous may not cause to affect function, it can cause stroke symptoms, seizures, headache and hemorrhages.
The risk factors of Cavernoma
It is estimated that around one in every 200 people have a cavernous angioma. Anyone may be a patient of cavernoma and majority of diagnosed people do not report a family history. However, people with more than one cavernoma are suspected to have an inherited factor.
Symptoms of Cavernoma
Usually Cavernomas are diagnosed with after a loss of function, a seizure or from a surprise finding when an MRI is done for some other reason. Cavernomas may have no symptoms, but more than 30 percent people with cavernoma angiomas eventually develop symptoms. In most of the cases, these symptoms occur when patients are 20 to 40 years old. The frequency, type and severity of the symptoms mostly depend on the locations of the angioma. Some of the typical symptoms include
- Epileptic seizure
- Neurological loss, such as limb weakness, vision or balance problems, or problems with memory and attention
- Brain hemorrhage, which can be small, but sometimes massive, leading to stroke-like symptoms
- Spinal cord injury
Treatment of Cavernoma
Physicians evaluate how to treat cavernomas depending on – How the cavernomas are bleeding, Where the cavernomas are located, If there are multiple cavernomas, The presence of other endovascular abnormalities.
Depending on the detailed assessment of the aforesaid factors, following treatments are offered:
- Watching and waiting: A lot of cavernomas are observed for changes, recent hemorrhage, or worsening symptoms.
- Medications: Medicines can not directly treat cavernomas, but they can effectively treat symptoms like seizures and headaches.
Surgery: Cavenoma surgery is the only curative approach to cavernomas and is suggested for cavernous angiomas with latest hemorrhage and those expanding in size causing seizures.