Hi! I’m up in Leicestershire and I had an AVM in my dura mater back in 2017.
Other than the MRI, it is likely that the doc will want to do an “angiogram” which is basically lying on an x-ray table and having “contrast material” injected through an entry point (usually at the top of your leg) to map out the various vessels in your brain and see exactly what is connected to what. It’s a whole day in hospital but it is the “gold standard” for working out exactly what you’ve got going on.
Once they have that information (or possibly based on the MRI) there will be a multidisciplinary meeting of the neurosurgeon, an interventional radiologist and a radiotherapist to determine which course of treatment that the guys have set out is best for you.
Depending on what the docs can see, they may refer you urgently for an operation or it may be that they are more relaxed about what’s going on. I had my initial diagnosis in Aug 2016, MRI in the September, first meeting with the neurosurgery team in November and had to wait until April for an embolisation.
In my case, I think my DAVF was progressing rather quickly, so by the time I got to surgery, I needed it. However, I’m not sure that other types of AVM develop very quickly. If at any point you have a significant change in your symptoms, it is worth going straight to A&E.
Meanwhile, the advice I got when I got worried one week and went to A&E was to cut out anything like smoking, drinking, coffee/caffeine, chocolate or anything that might put my blood pressure up significantly. That’s about the main self-help thing you can do. I used to drink coffee pretty regularly. Cutting that out did improve how my head felt, though with mine developing quickly, the benefits only seemed to last for a month.
I hope this is useful. You are not alone!