Published online Sep 28, 2010. doi: 10.4329/wjr.v2.i9.339
Revised: August 17, 2010
Accepted: August 24, 2010
Published online: September 28, 2010
Pulmonary arteriovenous malformations (PAVM) are congenital vascular communications in the lungs. They act as right to left shunts so that the blood running through these malformations is not oxygenated or filtered. These patients are typically hypoxaemic with exercise intolerance and are at high risk of paradoxical emboli to the brain and other organs. These malformations are most commonly seen in hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) (Mb. Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome). Nowadays, the generally accepted treatment strategy of first choice is embolization of the afferent arteries to the arteriovenous malformations. It is a minimally invasive procedure and at the same time a lung preserving treatment with a very high technical success, high effectiveness and low morbidity and mortality. Embolization prevents cerebral stroke and abscess as well as pulmonary haemorrhage and further raises the functional level. Embolization is a well-established method of treating PAVM, with a significant effect on oxygenation of the blood. Screening for PAVM in patients at risk is recommended, especially in patients with HHT.