Fibromuscular Dysplasia

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Fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD) causes your arteries to narrow. It also causes aneurysms. If you’ve had kidney problems or headaches, dizziness, and weakness, you might have FMD. It can lead to kidney failure, stroke, and brain aneurysms.

Fibromuscular Dysplasia Treatment at UVA

Our expert heart and vascular team received special recognition for our work in aortic, valve, and bypass surgery. We have the knowledge and skill to help you with the best course of action for your individual situation.

How we treat fibromuscular dysplasia depends on the arteries affected. It also depends on what other symptoms you have. Treatment mostly involves medicines for improving blood flow. We can also directly treat the blood vessels.

Fibromuscular Dysplasia Medicine

Medicines that reduce high blood pressure can treat FMD. They can help relax your blood vessels and remove extra fluid from your body. This helps your blood flow better. These medicines might include:

  • ACE inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers
  • Diuretics
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Beta blockers

Procedures for Treating FMD

Since FMD narrows parts of your arteries, procedures that open blood vessels can help, like:

  • Angioplasty, to push the artery open
  • Surgery to reduce aneurysms or repair ruptures

FMD: Symptoms & Diagnosis

FMD symptoms depend on the area of the body it shows up in. FMD can affect the arteries in your:

  • Kidneys, causing:
    • High blood pressure
    • Kidney damage, possibly leading to chronic kidney disease
  • Brain, causing:
    • Headaches
    • Dizziness
    • Ringing in your ears
    • Trouble seeing
    • Pain, weakness, or numbness in your face, head, or neck
    • Trouble speaking
  • Heart, causing:
    • Chest pain
    • Trouble breathing
    • Nausea
  • Arms and legs, causing:
    • Pain or discomfort
    • Changes in skin appearance
    • Weakness, numbness, or feeling cold
  • Abdomen, causing:
    • Pain
    • Weight loss

At UVA, we diagnose you using:

  • Ultrasound
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • Angiography

What Causes FMD?

The true cause of FMD isn't known. The chances of having FMD depend on:

  • Genetics
  • Hormone levels and balance
  • Past injury to your arteries
  • If your arteries developed abnormally