Moyamoya Disease

Moyamoya disease is a rare disorder in which arteries in the brain get very narrow, reducing blood flow. Left untreated, the condition can lead to a stroke or what’s known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also called a mini-stroke.

Overview

Symptoms

Moyamoya disease symptoms may include:

  • Changes in vision or other senses
  • Difficulty thinking clearly or learning 
  • Headaches
  • Involuntary movements
  • Seizures
  • Temporary weakness in an arm or leg, which is often triggered by activity or stress (including crying)
It’s also important to recognize the symptoms of stroke, which include:

  • Weakness in a limb
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Partial or complete blindness
  • Problems with balance 
If you have a TIA, you may experience stroke symptoms, but they will go away after a short time.

Diagnosis

First, you’ll meet with your doctor for a physical exam and to discuss your symptoms and family history. Your doctor may also order one of the following tests:

  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Angiogram: A special dye is injected into the bloodstream, which offers a better view of the arteries. When combined with an MRI, the test is called magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA); when combined with a CT scan, it’s a computed tomographic angiogram (CTA).
  • Electroencephalography (EEG): Moyamoya disease often causes a distinctive brainwave pattern in children. This test measures the electrical activity in the brain. 
  • Positron emission topography (PET): A radioactive dye is injected into the body and then monitored as it makes its way through the blood vessels.
  • Transcranial Doppler ultrasound (TCD): High-frequency sound waves show the direction and speed of blood flow.

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Treatment Options

The goal of moyamoya treatment is to prevent strokes by improving blood flow and reducing symptoms. Moyamoya disease treatment may include:

  • Medication to reduce clotting and headaches
  • A surgical procedure called revascularization, which allows blood to bypass the blocked arteries and improves blood flow

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