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Lung diseases

AVM of the Lung

01/25/2011

Question:

I was told last year that I had a AVM in my lower lung. Now after another scan the doctor told me it is a calcium deposit and nothing to worry about. I have no energy, feel tired all the time, shortness of breath and sometimes pain that goes down my right arm. Does this sound like a calcium deposit and what follow up should I d

Answer:

It sounds as if you need clarification from your doctor. Pulmonary arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) allow for blood to bypass the lungs. This leads to blood from your veins, with low oxygen levels, to mix with the blood in your arteries. This can, in some instances, lead to fatigue and shortness of breath. Testing is required to determine how much blood is bypassing the lungs. Symptoms are more common with larger AVMs. Usually, AVMs do not have calcium in them so I would clarify with your doctor what he/she thinks happened to the AVM and if it is the same thing as the calcium deposit. It is possible that bleeding from an AVM could lead to a calcium deposit in the lung. However, calcium deposits in the lungs (usually due to scars from an old infection from a fungus called Histoplasmosis) are very common and it is possible you have these changes in addition to an AVM.

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Response by:

James M O'Brien, Jr, MD James M O'Brien, Jr, MD
Former Associate Professor
Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University