WHAT IS AVM?
Approximately 300,000 Americans have Arteriovenous Malformations, better known as AVM. AVM is believed to be a congenital disorder of blood vessels in the brain, brainstem, or spinal cord that is characterized by a complex, tangled web of abnormal arteries and veins connected by abnormal communications. Without an AVM, oxygenated blood is pumped by the heart to the brain through arteries where it enters a fine network of tiny vessels called capillaries. The blood nourishes the tissues in these capillaries. The “used” blood then passes back to the heart through the veins. Arteriovenous malformations are areas that lack the tiny capillaries.
An AVM is a short circuit where the blood does not go to the tissues, but is pumped back to the heart without ever feeding nutrients to the tissues. This continuation of blood to the veins causes an increased flow of blood and can cause the vessels to weaken. These weakened vessels can rupture causing hemorrhages or bleeding. Research focuses on underlying causes and development of these lesions. AVMS are so rare that creating clinical trials and protocol treatments to assess the best outcomes is difficult because there are so few patients for the trials.
WHAT IS LUPUS ANTICOAGULANT?
Lupus anticoagulant is a type of blood clotting disorder. Approximately 2 percent to 4 percent of the population has lupus anticoagulant, also referred to as LA. Lupus anticoagulants are antibodies that attack plasma proteins in the blood. Normally, antibodies help prevent infections by attacking foreign cells in the body, such as bacteria or viruses. In the case of LA, the antibodies see plasma proteins as threats leading to a high risk of clotting.
More than 600,000 Americans die from abnormal blood clots each year.