What is Vein of Galen Malformation?
Vein of Galen Malformation is a large deep vein at the base of the brain. The capillaries, which normally slow blood flow and allow oxygen exchange with the surrounding tissues, are missing. Blood flows directly from arteries into veins without slowing down and without releasing its load of oxygen and nutrients. It is evident at birth and develops during weeks 6-11 of fetal development.
It is caused by a direct communication between a cerebral artery and a cerebral vein resulting from a congenital vascular malformation in new born babies. It commonly presents in the neonatal period, although it may present later, in early childhood. Typically, in the neonatal period, VGAM presents with congestive heart failure, a cranial bruit (an unexpected audible swishing sound or murmur heard over an artery or vascular channel).
Signs to look out for are:
• Congestive heart failure.
• New born babies may present with abnormally fast breathing, respiratory distress, and abnormal blue discoloration of the skin.They often require ventilatory support and may require medical treatment for heart failure.
• Hydrocephalus (‘water on the brain’) may be the presenting feature in older infants
• Head circumference growing out of proportion to the rest of the body.
• Infants may have hydrocephalus, in which case prominent scalp veins are noted.
• Developmental delay: signs of hydrocephalus and congestive heart failure should be looked for in infants with developmental delay.
• In early childhood, symptoms include headache, convulsive seizures, hydrocephalus, and cardiac failure.
A useful link: neuro.wehealny.org/endo/cond_vein-of-galen.asp