Conditions + Treatments

Moyamoya Disease

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Contact the Moyamoya Disease Program

What is moyamoya disease?

Moyamoya disease is a rare but very serious condition in which the walls of the internal carotid arteries — the vessels that supply blood to important areas of the brain — become thickened and narrowed. This causes the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the child’s brain to gradually slow down, and makes it more likely that a blood clot will form. As a result, children with moyamoya disease are at increased risk for a transient ischemic attack (TIA) also called a “mini-stroke,” or a full-fledged stroke.

“Moyamoya” means “puff of smoke” in Japanese due to the wispy, tangled appearance of the new blood vessels that emerge in the brain as the body attempts to compensate for the inadequate blood supply. Moyamoya disease is a progressive condition, meaning that symptoms worsen over time and your child’s chances of suffering a stroke increases.

How we care for moyamoya disease

The only proven treatment for moyamoya disease is surgery to create a healthy, adequate new supply of blood for the impacted areas of the brain. Boston Children’s Hospital has a long and distinguished history of caring for children with complex diseases and disorders of the brain, spine and central nervous system. Experts in our Moyamoya Disease Program are regarded as international leaders in understanding and treating this life-threatening disorder.

Our areas of innovation for moyamoya disease

Our physicians have developed a highly effective surgical procedure called pial synangiosis to introduce a sufficient new source of blood vessel growth. Over the past 25 years, Boston Children’s surgeons have performed more than 400 of these pioneering procedures. Research has shown that, in all patients treated with pial synangiosis in our Moyamoya Disease Program, the incidence of strokes has dropped from more than 67 percent to less than 7 percent.

Boston Children’s is so much more than a hospital—it’s a community of researchers, clinicians, administrators, support staff, innovators, teachers, patients and families, all working together to make the impossible possible. ”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
For Referring Providers: 844-BCH-PEDS | 844-224-7337