How is FMD diagnosed?

Sometimes, patients are diagnosed with FMD after having an X-ray or scan for another problem, and the doctor sees the beaded appearance of the arteries.

Some patients are diagnosed with FMD during a routine exam after the doctor hears a swooshing noise, called a bruit, which means there is abnormal blood flow.

Once FMD is discovered in one part of the body, more imaging tests are usually done to check for FMD in other areas. For example, if you have carotid FMD and high blood pressure, you might have a test to check for FMD in your renal arteries.

You may need more tests, such as a duplex ultrasound (or Doppler), magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) or computed tomography angiography (CTA). These noninvasive tests can be used to confirm the diagnosis of FMD and determine the extent of the lesions.

Your doctor may also recommend a dye angiogram. This is considered the gold standard for diagnosing FMD. In general, dye angiogram studies are done only if the diagnosis of FMD is not clear, or if you need a procedure such as a balloon angioplasty, which can be done at the same time.

If you are diagnosed with FMD, you should have tests to check for an aneurysm (in the brain or aorta/aortic branches) that may require additional treatment.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/29/2019.

References

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