Moyamoya disease is a rare condition where the arteries supplying oxygen and essential nutrients to the brain gradually become narrow. This causes a network of small blood vessels to bypass the blockage. The condition can progress and result in medical emergencies such as brain haemorrhage, stroke or transient ischemic attack (numbness, weakness, speech impairment or visual abnormalities).
Moyamoya disease causes stroke-like symptoms such as weakening on one side of the body, blurred vision, slurred speech, headaches and sometimes seizures. Brain tissue damage can result in headaches, cognitive or learning difficulties, seizures and mental impairment.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
Moyamoya disease is diagnosed by neurological examination and appropriate radiology.
Sometimes a cerebral angiogram is needed to confirm diagnosis. This is a test that shows the blood vessels in the brain with the help of a dye. It involves inserting a long catheter into a groin artery and threading it to the brain using x-ray imaging to show the narrowed arteries and the characteristic appearance of the blood vessel network. Other imaging tests may be needed to identify areas of the brain with diminished oxygen supply.
Surgery is usually needed to prevent further stroke and permanent brain impairment. This involves redirecting blood towards the oxygen-deficient areas of the brain from other parts of the head such as arteries in the scalp or muscles.
Following surgery, you will usually need to stay in hospital for a few days. Follow-up treatment and rehabilitation therapy will be needed to regain motor skills.