OBJECTIVES: Fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD), a noninflammatory disease of medium-size arteries, may lead to stenosis, occlusion, dissection, and/or aneurysm. There has been little progress in understanding the epidemiology, pathogenesis, and outcomes since its first description in 1938.
METHODS: Clinical features, presenting symptoms, and vascular events are reviewed for the first 447 patients enrolled in a national FMD registry from 9 US sites. Vascular beds were imaged selectively based on clinical presentation and local practice.
RESULTS: The majority of patients were female (91%) with a mean age at diagnosis of 51.9 (SD 13.4 years; range, 5-83 years). Hypertension, headache, and pulsatile tinnitus were the most common presenting symptoms of the disease. Self-reported family history of stroke (53.5%), aneurysm (23.5%), and sudden death (19.8%) were common, but FMD in first- or second-degree relatives was reported only in 7.3%. FMD was identified in the renal artery in 294 patients, extracranial carotid arteries in 251 patients, and vertebral arteries in 82 patients. A past or presenting history of vascular events were common: 19.2% of patients had a transient ischemic attack or stroke, 19.7% had experienced arterial dissection(s), and 17% of patients had an aneurysm(s). The most frequent indications for therapy were hypertension, aneurysm, and dissection.
CONCLUSIONS: In this registry, FMD occurred primarily in middle-aged women, although it presents across the lifespan. Cerebrovascular FMD occurred as frequently as renal FMD. Although a significant proportion of FMD patients may present with a serious vascular event, many present with nonspecific symptoms and a subsequent delay in diagnosis.