Fixing an AVM, Saving a Life

Published 11/08 2012 05:39PM

Updated 11/08 2012 06:51PM


DISFIGURING, DANGEROUS AND DIFFICULT TO TREAT.  
AN A-V-M IS A MALFORMATION IN THE FACE THAT HAPPENS WHEN THERE'S AN ABNORMAL CONNECTION BETWEEN VEINS AND ARTERIES.  
NOW, SOME PATIENTS ARE ROLLING THE DICE ON A RISKY PROCEDURE.
WE WANT TO WARN YOU... WHAT YOU'RE ABOUT TO SEE MAY BE DISTURBING TO SOME.
THIS IS WHAT SUSAN ADAMS LOOKED LIKE A FEW MONTHS AGO. SHE HAD AN ARTERIOVENOUS MALFORMATION - OR A-V-M - GROWING ON HER FACE. THE SLIGHTEST BUMP COULD CAUSE MASSIVE BLEEDING. 
"It would rupture where it would actually project three or four feet away from you." 
SHE WORRIED A BAD BLEED COULD KILL HER. AFTER SIX SURGERIES FAILED TO REMOVE THE A-V-M, SUSAN LOST HOPE.
"When doctors tell you there's nothing they can do for you, it does get difficult." 
THEN...SURGEONS AT JOHNS HOPKINS TRIED A RISKY - BUT POTENTIALLY LIFE-SAVING -- PROCEDURE.
"To be honest, I was quite scared when I saw it."
DOCTOR MONICA PEARL USED A NEEDLE TO PUNCTURE SUSAN'S LIP UNDER ULTRASOUND GUIDANCE. SHE THEN CUT OFF THE A-V-M'S BLOOD SUPPLY AND GLUED IT SHUT.  "but preserve her normal tissue, so that she could heal from her surgery." 
 DOCTOR AMIR DORAFSHAR THEN CAREFULLY CUT OUT THE A-V-M AND RECONSTRUCTED HER FACE.THIS WAS BEFORE...THIS IS AFTER.
NOW - SUSAN CAN BE AS ACTIVE AS SHE WANTS.
"Not only did they save my life, but they changed my quality of life, so I'm happy, very thankful."
A-V-Ms AFFECT ABOUT 250-THOUSAND PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES.
THE STANDARD WAY TO TREAT THEM IS THROUGH A CATHETER INSERTED IN THE GROIN.
DOCTORS ORIGINALLY TOLD SUSAN HER A-V-M WAS UNTREATABLE BECAUSE OF PREVIOUS SURGERIES THAT FAILED TO FIX THE PROBLEM.
IF SUSAN'S A-V-M WAS NOT REMOVED, IT COULD HAVE LED TO FATAL BLOOD LOSS.

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