Progression of initially unilateral Moyamoya angiopathy in Caucasian Europeans

J Neurol. 2023 Sep;270(9):4415-4422. doi: 10.1007/s00415-023-11793-0. Epub 2023 Jun 1.


Background: Moyamoya angiopathy (MMA) is a rare cause of stroke in Caucasians, but it is much more frequent in East Asia. Since 2021, diagnostic criteria not only comprise bilateral, but also unilateral MMA. Hitherto, progression of unilateral MMA has predominantly been described in East Asians. Our study aimed to analyze the occurrence and characteristics of progression of initially unilateral MMA in Caucasian Europeans.

Methods: By retrospective analysis of medical records of 200 European Caucasians with MMA, admitted to our German center between 2010 and 2022, cases of unilateral MMA and its progression, i.e. progressive ipsi- or novel contralateral arterial stenosis, during follow-up were identified. Kruskal Wallis Test and Fisher's Exact Test were used to identify statistically significant differences between progressive and stable patients concerning demographic, clinical, laboratory, and radiographic features.

Results: Our cohort comprised 63 patients with initially unilateral MMA. Fourteen (22.2%) had an ipsi- (n = 3, 21.4%) or contralateral (n = 11, 78.6%) progression. Mean age of patients with progressive MMA at symptom onset was 32 ± 14.1 years. The ratio of women to men in this subgroup was 2.5:1. Mean follow-up period was 5.4 ± 3.7 years, mean age at progression was 39.9 ± 12.7 years. Mean time interval between penultimate follow-up and progression was 4.8 ± 4.5 years. Patients with progression showed affection of the posterior cerebral artery (p = 0.009) and suffered from vertigo (p = 0.009) significantly more often.

Conclusion: Unilateral MMA progresses in a substantial proportion in European Caucasians. Long-term follow-up is required due to potential late progression with consecutive symptoms and the need for bypass surgery.

Keywords: Bypass; European Caucasians; Moyamoya angiopathy; Progression; Unilateral.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • European People
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Moyamoya Disease* / complications
  • Moyamoya Disease* / diagnostic imaging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stroke*
  • White People
  • Young Adult