Diagnosis, management, and future developments of fibromuscular dysplasia

J Vasc Surg. 2011 Mar;53(3):826-36.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2010.10.066. Epub 2011 Jan 13.


Fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD) is a nonatherosclerotic noninflammatory vascular disease that primarily affects women from age 20 to 60, but may also occur in infants and children, men, and the elderly. It most commonly affects the renal and carotid arteries but has been observed in almost every artery in the body. FMD has been considered rare and thus is often underdiagnosed and poorly understood by many health care providers. There are, however, data to suggest that FMD is much more common than previously thought, perhaps affecting as many as 4% of adult women. When it affects the renal arteries, the most common presentation is hypertension. When it affects the carotid or vertebral arteries, the patient may present with transient ischemic attack or stroke, or dissection. An increasing number of patients are asymptomatic and are only discovered incidentally when imaging is performed for some other reason or by the detection of an asymptomatic bruit. FMD should be considered in the differential diagnosis of a young person with a cervical bruit; a "swishing" sound in the ear(s); transient ischemic attack, stroke, or dissection of an artery; or in individuals aged ≤ 35 years with onset hypertension. Treatment consists of antiplatelet therapy for asymptomatic individuals and percutaneous balloon angioplasty for patients with indications for intervention. Patients with aneurysms should be treated with a covered stent or open surgical repair. Little new information has been published about FMD in the last 40 years. The recently instituted International Registry for Fibromuscular Dysplasia will remedy that situation and provide observational data on a large numbers of patients with FMD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Angioplasty, Balloon
  • Asymptomatic Diseases
  • Female
  • Fibromuscular Dysplasia* / complications
  • Fibromuscular Dysplasia* / diagnosis
  • Fibromuscular Dysplasia* / epidemiology
  • Fibromuscular Dysplasia* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Incidental Findings
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures
  • Young Adult


  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors