We tested whether cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVM) alter brain tissue oxygen pressure, PO2, carbon dioxide pressure PCO2, and pH before, during, and after hypercapnia. A craniotomy was performed and a sensor inserted into normal brain tissue (control) (n = 7) or into tissue adjacent to an AVM (n = 9). Under baseline conditions, tissue PO2 was 80% lower in AVM compared to control patients, but PCO2 and pH were normal. During a 10 mm Hg increase in PaCO2, tissue PO2 increased only in AVM patients, PCO2 increased in both groups, and pH decreased only in controls. When hypercapnia was reversed, tissue PCO2 decreased below baseline and pH increased in AVM patients. Results suggest that tissue CO2 washout and elevated pH result from increases in blood flow during hypercapnia. This response may be related to symptoms of hyperperfusion during AVM resection.