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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Fibromuscular Dysplasia

Fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD) is a disorder that causes some of your body’s arteries to develop improperly. Fibrous tissue grows in the walls of the arteries, causing narrowing (stenosis).

This causes less blood to be able to flow through the arteries, increasing the risk of stroke.

FMD usually affects the arteries that supply blood to your kidneys. However, it may also affect your carotid artery, which supplies blood to your brain.

Signs & Symptoms

Whether or not you have symptoms from FMD depends on the amount of damage to your arteries, and which arteries have been damaged.

Damaged leg arteries may cause leg pain. Damaged arteries to the kidneys may cause high blood pressure or kidney failure.

Damaged carotid arteries may cause dizziness, neck pain, and stroke.

Causes & Risk Factors

The cause of FMD is not yet known.

However, the following may increase your chance of having FMD:

  • Family history
  • Tobacco use
  • Hormones

FMD is more common in women than men. As many as three times as many women get FMD as men.

Diagnosis & Testing

The most common procedure to diagnose FMD is the following:

  • Arteriography or angiography: X-ray of the affected artery using a special dye injected into another artery
  • Doppler ultrasound imaging: Noninvasive test using sound waves to image the affected artery

A computed tomography (CT) scan may also be used.


There is no cure for FMD. Your doctor will come up with the most effective treatment option for you, which may include:

  • Treatment of symptoms
  • Risk reduction
  • Improvement of bloodflow through affected arteries

More Information

The Fibromuscular Dysplasia Society of America (FMDSA) offers information about:

  • Treatment
  • Support
  • Awareness
  • Research


Last UpdateApril 30, 2012