Neurological Diseases: Cavernous Hemangioma

Introduction

Cavernous Hemangioma of the brain is a type vascular malformation that occurs in the brain tissue.

There are other names too for this condition including cavernoma, cavernous-angioma etc.

In this condition there is a focal abnormal dilatation of blood vessels with a thin wall and they can bleed and produce neurological problems (discussed below).

What causes these hemangiomas?

Majority of them are congenital (patients born with them) due to certain developmental abnormalities of these blood vessels. Some of them may be acquired too. There may be some hereditary forms as well.

Although they are not considered as tumors but some of them do grow, although the rate of such growth is very slow.

Clinical presentation

A patient lodging this cerebral cavernous malformation may remain asymptomatic throughout life. And in fact many of them remain silent and may be incidentally found during CT or MRI of the brain.

However minor or major neurological complications can occur if these lesions bleed. The following

• Seizures
• Headache of varying intensity
• Unilateral arm and/or leg and/or face weakness, numbness, sensory loss etc

Diagnosis

MRI of the brain is considered as the best investigation to detect these pathologies. A CT is useful too but not as much as MRI. An angiogram does not usually detect these lesions.

Treatment

Small lesions that are symptomatic may be left like that. If treatment is considered then it is usually surgical removal. Gamma knife radiosurgery seems to be another treatment option.

Seizures are treated with anti seizure medicines.

A neurologist is frequently involved in the care of patients with cerebral (brain) cavernous malformations.



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