My Update - Dural AVF Embolization

Hi Richard,
Just want to wish you all the best for Monday, everything will go fine and you will soon hear the words avm free!!!

1 Like


Thanks! I’m looking forward to it! I hope you are doing ok: has your tiredness gone away? I can see you’re upon your “second anniversary”, so hoping you’re doing well.

You were one of the first people to welcome me into this community, so very special.

Very best wishes,


tiredness is still here☹️ I have doctors Monday so hopefully he can do a blood test and find a cause. I work with children with complex behaviour issues so I’m thinking it could be just mental exhaustion lol. At weekends I do not need my afternoon sleep and I do more physical things then. Will keep you updated!!

:frowning: get well soon!

Thanks xx


Thought it high time I gave an update on how I’m getting on.

Had my embolisation on 3 April. Came out of hospital on 5 April but I have headaches, dizziness, pain on the outside of my head and some occasional visual “effects”. See also Explaining Catheter Embolisation

The procedure was to embolise the DAVF in my right occipital and the doc also embolised the draining veins that are extracranial, plus unblocked my right transverse sinus. When I came round, apart from sore balls (I’m sure they gaffer-taped certain parts of me out of the way and then just ripped off the tape!) I had a good headache and I could hear an even louder pulse than before my op. A very healthy-sounding pulse but nonetheless a pulse.

Over the past week and a half, the head pain is less – I can now lie with my head straight up or on the right now, for a while. I managed to sleep a couple of nights on just one pillow! Hurrah! – the headaches are minimal, so long as I keep pumped with paracetamol at regular 6h intervals and the pulse I’ve either got used to or has faded. I’m due back after 6 weeks for a re-scan (angio) and we’ll see whether anything else needs doing.

However, I’ve got an interesting visual effect that is occurring less than once a day currently. I get a little blur which appears, turns into a raindrop, then splits into a wide “C” shape, complete with jagged teeth. The blur keeps all of the colours of the background, but there’s no way of “seeing” through it. It’s a bit like interference within the shape, or a frosted window. I haven’t found a trigger for it yet. It’s occurred in the back garden in the heat and the sunshine; its happened when being driven in the car on Thursday; it happened when I woke last night and had a drink of water.

The embolisation I’ve had was using PHIL rather than Onyx. I understand that PHIL is a bit more irritating than Onyx. If anyone has experience of a DAVF or PHIL and can share a bit of positive upliftment, please do!

I’m not wholly glum and I’m still convinced that my DAVF needed action but I’m either expecting too much too soon or I’ve got some side-effects that I wasn’t hoping for. Not the worst side-effects known to man, but disappointing, as I’m sure you’d agree.

Love all,


1 Like

Good to hear from you Richard. My embolizations is June 22 so I like so follow everyone’s experiences so I know what to expect. Hope it is a speedy recovery for you.

HI you say this ‘retrogade’ thing going o makes you feel poorly, how does
it affect you, what are you symptoms? I’m due to see consultant again next month and I feel a lot worse than I did 15 months ago when I last saw him was worried my DAVM had got worse


It is mostly the dizziness which bothered me, though the retrograde flow was present on the outside of my head as well as inside, so my head felt pressured inside and out and simple actions like shampooing, hair brushing and even sliding my glasses over my ears made me feel dizzy. I think I had large draining veins on the outside of my head, on the right occipital side, but reaching down to my neck. They became more tender as time went by.

I’ve read recently that DAVFs may be acquired, rather than congenital, so makes sense for them to change over time. I assume the issue is one of high blood pressure, some predisposition to an AVF and/or lifting too heavy weights / doing too much in one way or another.

The simplest test for mine was to use a stethoscope to listen for where an unusual blood flow could be heard. When I saw my GP in (I think) early March, I think she was shocked by how extensive the pulse in my draining veins had become and it was her report to hospital that finally triggered my embolization date.

Hope this helps,



Update on my progress… in the hope that it helps others. I’ve got some progress and some regress.


  • my head is no longer sore on the outside: the extracranial draining veins which were PHILed are now comfortable enough to sleep on.
  • I’m not taking any painkillers. I’ve stopped those for a couple of weeks by now, though I had a long day at work, sitting on uncomfortable chairs, having to look up too much and I resorted to the paracetamol again briefly.
  • my “visual effects” have abated. I’m down to about one per week.


  • I’m still dizzy. I’ve plateaued in terms of getting any better there, I may have got a bit worse. Indeed, I got annoyed the other day, blood pressure went up and I got extra dizzy, so I’m pretty sure further embolisation is needed. Any motion, such as walking or being driven in a car is mildly unpleasant.
  • I can still get a bit dizzy shampooing my hair
  • I can still hear a pulse at night.

Good news, I’m up for an angiogram in 2 weeks to review progress and we’ll see how we go from there.

Overall, I can say that post op, I’m so much more relaxed about my AVM than I have been. I don’t think it is fixed yet but I know what an AVM is, I know what it’s like to go through an embolisation and I can do these things. I’d like to encourage everyone else that embolisation is OK, not to be afraid of; and I hope to get fully fixed soon!

Lots of love,



Thanks for the update Richard, really appreciate it. The positive outlook has always helped me along and I wish the best news at your next angio! Thanks again, and take care!

1 Like

Good luck Richard hoping for a great outcome for you.

so good to hear that it went well and let us know how your next angio goes. I hope you continue to feel better. Its tough with the Iodine and radiation used during I know my body does like it at all and I usually stay in bed for at least 2 weeks last time I think a month. But I have a severe allergy to Iodine -


Thanks, guys!

I’m offline for last week and next week, minimum… the phone company cut us off! I’ll join back in when I can connect to the outside world!


Up for my angiogram today… actually not hoping for the “all clear” cos I still feel dizzy. Hopefully the doc will find a little something still to do…

Love all,


Ok, so I’ve had my angio, seen the pictures and believe I’m all fixed!

Doc says I had a big fistula, not necessarily big in centimeters, but big in terms of the amount of blood flow being diverted, so he thinks I just need to carry on getting used to the new flows in all the right places.




That is fantastic news! I can’t tell you how happy I am for you.


Thank you! I really need to get into a new mindset. I feel like I only half believe the doc at the moment, so I really need to get into the fully believing space. He said he could see no physiological reason why I would still be dizzy, so it has to be in the mind rather than the vasculature. So… I’m going to go for it.

  • Get comfortable post angio.
  • Then have a sensible return to life as normal, with a positive attitude.

He did say it was quite a big fistula, in terms of the amount of blood being diverted, and if these things are aboriginal, congenital, then the top of my head (where I feel dizzy) may never have had the level of blood pressure other people are used to, or it may have decayed very slowly over the last 50 years and I’ve got used to a much lower pressure.

My dad went to the dentist some years ago and the dentist told him, either cough up several thousand pounds to get his teeth fixed properly, or take the lot out. Dad has had a “plate” since a motorbike accident as a young man, so opted for “all out” and some new plastic choppers. The funny thing was that when he had them fitted (a) he looked like Wallace out of Wallace & Gromit and (b) they were “too tall” – he felt as though there was too much plastic in his mouth: his jaw was being held open! Rather than pay the dentist to make a shorter set of teeth, he had a go at them with a file. Much cheaper.

When he told the dentist, or had a review of how he was getting on with them, the dentist laughed. “Actually, they were the right height but you’ve got used to a plate that was made decades ago and has worn down significantly over time, so the teeth in your old plate were much too short!” I assume it is the same with me. I’ve got a bit of “getting used to” to do.

Hope this cheers your day, too! It is great news!


It sure got my day off to a great start! Thanks.

Latest update…

The “visual effects” recurred again just once following the angio, so I think that was driven by the catheter going in and upsetting something. I dont think I’ve had an “effect” for a couple of weeks now; and before the angio, hadn’t had any for perhaps 3 weeks.

Hope this helps anyone reading up on how I got on.