An arteriovenous malformation is usually an inherited condition. It occurs when the brain arteries and veins are abnormally joined. It often goes undiscovered unless there is a specific reason for tests like CT scans, MRIs or, more selectively, MRA or angiograms. The Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA) is a non-invasive and safe diagnostic study to look at blood vessels.
In many cases people can lead a normal life with this disorder and it is usually discovered incidentally after death has occurred. In rare instances it can mimic migraine. Rarely, the arteriovenous malformation may bleed and cause a brain hemorrhage or be responsible for epilepsy.