Fibromuscular Dysplasia

Fibromuscular dysplasia is a congenital genetic disorder that leads to impairment of the vascular walls and may cause their narrowing and tightening. This is related to impaired blood flow through these blood vessels, local ischemia and further complications.


The disease is congenital and genetically determined. An affected person has a 50% chance that his or her child will suffer from fibromuscular dysplasia as well.


The disease usually manifests in adolescence or in adulthood. The main problem is inadequately high accumulation of fibrous tissue into blood vessel wall leading to dilation of the vessel walls and narrowing of oppressed vessel lumens. Renal arteries and carotid arteries are the most commonly affected. Renal arteries narrowing can cause hypertension or chronic renal failure. Narrowing of carotid arteries may be followed by dizziness, fainting, or even by ischemic stroke. More rarely, the fibromuscular dysplasia may cause dysfunction of other organs due to their ischemia.


Narrowing of arteries can be best demonstrated by a local angiography, which allows displaying the blood flow through blood vessels using a contrast agent. The flowing contrast is seen on the screen with any eventual obstacles and constrictions.


Primary method of treatment is the angioplasty. It is an endovascular approach when the narrowed location is dilated using a special balloon. The balloon is inflated and thus it expands the constricted area. The angioplasty can then be further followed by implantation of a stent, which is a tubular object keeping the artery dilated.


Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Sources: basic text sources