What is a cavernoma?

What is a cavernoma?

A cavernoma (also called cavernous hemangioma) is a vascular malformation consisting of small vessels, tangle, and sometimes calcifications and connective tissue. This can occur in the brain and in the spinal cord.

How common is a cavernoma?

Cavernomas are rare (found in less than 0.2% of the population) and are as common among men as among women. Usually there is one cavernoma, but in some patients there are several cavernomas.

Symptoms

The first symptoms usually occur between the age of 20 and 40. Small hemorrhages may cause epileptic seizures or loss of function. The location of the small hemorrhages determines which symptoms of loss of functions occur. Large hemorrhages can lead to an acute life-threatening situation. This is rare in cavernomas.
 

What is a cavernoma?

A cavernoma (also called cavernous hemangioma) is a vascular malformation consisting of small vessels, tangle, and sometimes calcifications and connective tissue. This can occur in the brain and in the spinal cord. read more

Tests and diagnosis

The diagnosis can only be made once an MRI scan has been made. read more

Tests and diagnosis

A cavernoma cannot be made clearly visible by means of a contrast examination of the vessels (angiography). This is why it is also called "occult" (non-visible) vascular malformation. Sometimes a CT scan shows the calcifications in a cavernoma, which leads to the suspicion of a cavernoma. The diagnosis can only be made once an MRI scan has been made. The MRI scan is the only test that gives a good picture.

Life with a cavernoma

After a cavernoma, there are a number of things to consider. read more

Life with a cavernoma


  • When a cavernoma is being diagnosed, there is often uncertainty about activities that increase the pressure on the head. Examples include flying, diving, going on a roller coaster, pushing, going to the sauna, or having sex. There are no indications that these activities increase the risk of having a hemorrhage from a cavernoma. These activities can therefore be carried out as usual.


A cavernoma hemorrhage

The first symptom of a cavernoma is often a brain hemorrhage or epilepsy. read more

A cavernoma hemorrhage

The first symptom of a cavernoma is often a brain hemorrhage or epilepsy. The symptoms of the hemorrhage depend on the location of the hemorrhage in the brain and the size of the hemorrhage.
These hemorrhages usually occur in the brain tissue (intracerebral hemorrhage). Hemorrhages resulting from a cavernoma is most common in people between 20 and 40 years of age.

Symptoms

The symptoms of hemorrhages vary from just sudden headaches to paralysis, unconsciousness, or an epileptic seizure. In case of a severe hemorrhage, even death can be caused by the hemorrhage or its or its consequences.

Hospitalization after hemorrhage from a cavernoma

Your recovery after hemorrhage from a cavernoma depends on several factors and usually takes many months. If, after the hemorrhage, you experience symptoms of loss of consciousness that limit your ability to think or take care of yourself, then the rehabilitation doctor will assess where you can best recover.
This can be done at home, at a rehabilitation center, or in a recovery ward in a nursing home. Depending on your problems, you will be accompanied by physiotherapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and social workers.
In order to keep you and your loved ones informed of progress, weekly meetings will be organized with you, your medical team, and your loved ones during the hospitalization. During your admission after the hemorrhage, we will discuss a treatment plan with you and your loved ones.

Complaints

You may continue to have complaints that are both apparent and less apparent to others. Common examples of this are: (mental) fatigue, problems with processing stimuli, concentration problems, forgetfulness, and headaches. This can be quite a constraint on picking up your daily life again.
Your healthcare provider will discuss follow-up appointments, advice on life rules, and taking up activities with you and your loved ones before being discharged.

Daily activities after a cavernoma hemorrhage

After a cavernoma hemorrhage, recovery from the hemorrhage is usually the first priority. Treatment of the cavernoma usually follows at a later stage when your brain has recovered from the hemorrhage. Your attending physician will determine the correct timing of the treatment.
The effects of a brain hemorrhage on resuming your daily life vary widely, depending on the severity of the hemorrhage. You will receive advice on how best to resume your daily activities, work and hobbies from the nursing specialist, rehabilitation doctor, and/or company doctor.
 
If you are recovering from the hemorrhage, possibly while waiting for the treatment of the cavernoma, there is often uncertainty about activities that increase the pressure on the head. Examples include flying, diving, going on a roller coaster, pushing, going to the sauna, or having sex. There are no indications that these activities increase the risk of new hemorrhage from a cavernoma. These activities can therefore be carried out as usual.

Driving after a cavernoma hemorrhage

If the cavernoma has hemorrhaged, a driving suspension of 6 months after the hemorrhage applies. If, after this period, there are any residual symptoms that affect driving skills, a report from your specialist will be required. On the basis of this report, the Dutch central driver licensing office (CBR) can decide whether an additional independent medical examination or a driving test is required. Your medical specialist will write the report in addition to the CBR's declaration of health (website in Dutch).