Fibromuscular Dysplasia: Contemporary Concepts and Future Directions

Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2018 Mar-Apr;60(6):580-585. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2018.03.001. Epub 2018 Mar 10.


Fibromuscular dyplasia (FMD) is an under-recognized non-atherosclerotic, non-inflammatory arteriopathy that occurs most commonly in middle-aged women, but may affect individuals of all age groups. FMD may result in stenosis, aneurysm, dissection, occlusion, or arterial tortuosity. Recently published data demonstrated a genetic association of FMD with a variant in the phosphatase and actin regulator 1 gene (PHACTR1), substantiating that the pathogenesis of this condition has genetic contribution. The renal and extracranial carotid and vertebral arteries are most often involved, although any arterial bed may be affected. Clinical manifestations often reflect the vascular territory affected, and can include hypertension, headaches, pulsatile tinnitus, myocardial infarction, transient ischemic attack and stroke. While the gold standard for diagnostic evaluation of FMD remains catheter-based angiography, noninvasive imaging, including duplex ultrasound, computed tomographic angiography, and magnetic resonance angiography, may be used for diagnosis. Treatment of FMD depends upon symptoms as well as the nature and location of arterial lesions, but may include both medical (blood pressure control, antiplatelet agents) and interventional (angioplasty, stents, coils, surgery) therapies. This contemporary analysis of the literature, combined with our own clinical experience in treating patients with FMD, will highlight pathophysiology, evaluation, management, and common misconceptions in the care of individuals with FMD.

Keywords: Aneurysm; Arterial tortuosity; Dissection; Fibromuscular dysplasia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Computed Tomography Angiography / methods*
  • Disease Management
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Fibromuscular Dysplasia / diagnosis
  • Fibromuscular Dysplasia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fibromuscular Dysplasia / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index