MoyaMoya Disease

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Houston Methodist is on the leading edge of research and treatment options for moyamoya disease. We are one of just a few hospitals in the world to offer the depth of specialization necessary to treat this rare, complex condition. 

Houston Methodist offers and unparalleled breadth of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of moyamoya disease. We apply groundbreaking clinical research to develop personalized care plans that help prevent complications and offer improved long-term health.

“Moyamoya” is Japanese for “puff of smoke,” describing the tangle of tiny blood vessels that characterize this complex, progressive disease. The arteries at the base of the brain become blocked and tiny blood vessels grow in a wispy, tangled mass in an attempt to compensate. 

This disease usually affects children but can present in adults as a stroke or hemorrhage. If left untreated, moyamoya disease can cause multiple strokes that lead to neurological decline and severe brain damage. 

Diagnosing & Treating Moyamoya Disease

How is moyamoya disease diagnosed?

If moyamoya disease is suspected, it is important to diagnose it as quickly as possible to prevent complications, such as stroke and disability. The neurologists at Houston Methodist recommend imaging scans and tests to diagnose moyamoya disease: 


  • Angiogram  
  • CT 
  • MRI
  • Single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) 

Children with moyamoya disease may experience an array of symptoms:


  • Developmental delays 
  • Headaches 
  • Iron-deficiency anemia  
  • Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs or mini-strokes) 
  • Seizures 
  • Speech problems
  • Uncontrollable movements, or an inability to move arms, legs or feet 


Adults with moyamoya disease may experience different symptoms, such as: 


  • Bleeding 
  • Fainting or “blacking out” 
  • Poor or blurry vision, vision loss in one eye, or an inability to recognize objects 
  • Strokes 

What treatments are available?

Surgery is the only treatment option for moyamoya disease. Neurosurgeons at Houston Methodist perform several types of revascularization surgeries to open narrow blood vessels, bypass blocked arteries and restore blood flow to the brain. These include:


  • Direct revascularization (STA-MCA bypass) 
  • Encephaloduroarteriosynangiosis (EDAS) 
  • Encephalomyosynangiosis (EMS) 
  • Encephaloduroarteriomyosynangiosis (EDAMS) 
  • Omental-cranial transposition (transplantation)
  • Multiple burr holes 


Currently, there are no medications to treat moyamoya disease. Aspirin, anticoagulants and calcium channel blockers can treat side effects or prevent complications. 

What if I need advanced care or a second opinion?

Whether you need a precise diagnosis or a second opinion, we can help. Our specialists can pinpoint the cause of your symptoms and design a personalized treatment plan to restore your quality of life.

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