Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD)

Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD) is a vascular disease that causes one or more arteries in the body to have abnormal cell development in the artery wall. As a result, areas of narrowing of the arteries, called stenosis, may occur, which could lead to a decrease in blood flow through the artery. FMD commonly is found in the arteries that supply blood to the brain and kidney. Individuals with FMD are at risk for artery blockages, hypertension, stroke, and aneurysm.

UI Health provides specialized care for patients with FMD in the Neuroscience Center. Our vascular neurologist collaborates with a multidisciplinary team that includes a renal-hypertension specialist and an interventional radiology specialist to develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs and condition.

Diagnosis of Fibromuscular Dysplasia

A test to image the blood vessels must be done in order to diagnose FMD. FMD is most common in women between ages 30 and 50, but in some cases it also may occur in children and the elderly. FMD occurs two to 10 times more frequently in women than in men.

The Causes of Fibromuscular Dysplasia

The causes of FMD remain unknown and are the focus of considerable research. The disease most likely has multiple underlying causes. Some of the factors that may play a role include:

  • Hormonal influences — The disease primarily affects women in their 30s and 40s
  • Genetics — About 10 percent of cases are familial (inherited)
  • Trauma or stress to the artery walls
  • Loss of oxygen supply to the blood vessel wall