Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) Causes Collapse of Baseball Manager

Doctor's View Archive

On June 13, 1999, the Houston Astros baseball team manager Larry Dierker suffered a "seizure" during a game with the San Diego Padres.

"In a frightening scene, Dierker collapsed in the dugout in the eighth inning and members of the Astros and paramedics rushed to his aid," according to Reuters news service. "With players openly weeping and praying for his recovery, Dierker was removed from the field via ambulance."

An Astros spokesman said Dierker had suffered a grand mal seizure, "which affects the entire body," adding that the "condition is not heart-related....His blood sugar was normal, which is also an encouraging sign...(and Dierker) had been attempting to reduce his use of chewing tobacco."

On June 15, the Associated Press reported that Larry Dierker had successful surgery to remove a tangled mass of blood vessels in his brain that caused him to have the seizure in the dugout two days earlier.

"Dr. Rob Parrish said the 5 1/2-hour procedure to remove the mass, called an arteriovenous malformation, went smoothly." The area of malformed vessels had been removed. "Having an AVM that ruptures is certainly life threatening."

An arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is a congenital disorder, which means that is present at birth or really well before birth. The disorder involves blood vessels in the brain, brainstem, or spinal cord. There is characteristically a complex tangle of abnormal arteries and veins that are connected by one or more abnormal pathways (fistulas).