Moyamoya disease is characterized by the blockage of the carotid arteries in the skull. In an attempt to compensate for this blockage, a fine network of blood vessels grows at the base of the brain. The Japanese word moyamoya, which means "puff of smoke," is a nickname used to describe the hazy appearance of this cluster of blood vessels.
Moyamoya disease is very rare. It occurs more commonly in Asian populations, but people of all ethnicities and ages can develop the condition. When it does occur, it is most common in children younger than 10, and among adults in their 40s. The exact cause of moyamoya disease is not yet known, but it does tend to run in some families, indicating a genetic component.
Moyamoya disease can cause strokes, bleeding, seizures and cognitive problems in children and adults. The progressive narrowing of the arteries deprives the brain of oxygen. This can result in stroke, mental impairment and muscle weakness.
At UCLA, we use the most advanced imaging techniques to quickly and accurately diagnose moyamoya disease. Imaging techniques may include:
UCLA is one of the nation's leading moyamoya centers. Our cerebrovascular team includes some of the world's best-recognized experts in the disease. As a result, we treat an exceptionally high volume of moyamoya patients.
Surgery for moyamoya disease is designed to reestablish blood flow to the brain using other blood vessels (called microsurgical revascularization). During surgery, we use advanced imaging and blood flow detection techniques to precisely identify donor and target blood vessels for microsurgical revascularization. UCLA offers every option for treatment of moyamoya, including: