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.


  • Bagh I, Olin JW, Froehlich JB, Kline-Rogers E, Gray B, Kim ESH, Sharma A, Weinberg I, Wells BJ, Gu X, Gornik HL. Association of Multifocal Fibromuscular Dysplasia in Elderly Patients With a More Benign Clinical Phenotype: Data From the US Registry for Fibromuscular Dysplasia. JAMA Cardiol. 2018 Aug 1;3(8):756-760. doi: 10.1001/jamacardio.2018.1638. PMID:29926082
  • Olin JW, Gornik, HL, Bacharach, Biller J, Fine LJ, Gray BH, Gray WA, Gupts R, Hamburg NM, Katzen BT, Lookstein RA, Lumsden AB, Newburger JW, Rundek T, Sperati CJ, Stanley JC, American Heart Association Council on Peripheral Vascular Disease; American Heart Association Council on Clinical Cardiology; American Heart Association Council on Cardiopulmonary, Critical Care, Perioperative and Resuscitation; American Heart Association Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young; American Heart Association Council on Cardiovascular Radiology and Intervention; American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology and Prevention; American Heart Association Council on Functional Genomics and Translational Biology; American Heart Association Council for High Blood Pressure Research; American Heart Association Council on the Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease; American Heart Association Stroke Council. Fibromuscular dysplasia: state of the science and critical unanswered questions: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2014; 129(9): 1048-78.
  • Plouin PF, Perdu J, La Batide-Alanore A, Boutouyrie P, Gimenez-Roqueplo AP, Jeunemaitre X. Fibromuscular dysplasia. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2007 Jun 7;2:28.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy