Arterial malformations can be occult and not be symptomatic until later in life. Examples include aneurysms of the cerebral arteries and abdominal aortic aneurysms. Aneurisms can be congenital or they can be seen as part of an underlying connective disorder such as Marfan syndrome or certain types of Ehlers Danlos syndrome.
Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are high-flow malformations that can lead to cardiovascular compromise. These malformations are rare and are more common in the head and neck region. The vast majority of these lesions are present at birth, but they may present later on in life. AV malformations can be classified as a flat dormant lesion (stage 1), warm throbbing masses (stage 2), necrosis of skin and underlying soft tissue (stage 3), and cardiovascular compromise (stage 4). For stage one lesions, doppler ultrasound can be helpful to evaluate the lesion. For advanced lesions, imaging studies such as MRI and arteriography are helpful to evaluate the lesions.