Moyamoya Disease | Testing and Diagnosis

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Contact the Moyamoya Disease Program

How is Moyamoya disease diagnosed?

Here at Boston Children’s Hospital, our clinicians may use the following imaging technologies to help diagnose, or confirm a diagnosis of, Moyamoya disease:
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), which uses large magnets to take detailed pictures of organs, bones and tissues
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA), which uses MRI technology to “map” the child’s blood vessels
  • Computed Tomography (CT) scans, which use x-rays to generate three-dimensional images of bones, tissues and blood vessels

However, the standard test for both diagnosing Moyamoya disease and planning for surgery is a cerebral angiogram, a minimally invasive procedure that produces a “map” of your child’s carotid arteries. During an angiogram, a special dye that shows up on x-rays is injected into the artery. The dye creates a contrast effect in the images, which allows clinicians to see both the extent of narrowing in the brain’s blood vessels and the tangle of thin, new vessels generated by Moyamoya disease.

Did you know? The practice of pediatric neurosurgery has roots at Boston Children's Hospital.

In 1929, Boston Children’s physicians Harvey Cushing, MD, and Franc Ingraham, MD, established the Department of Neurosurgery at the hospital—marking the introduction of pediatric neurosurgery as a formally recognized field. Today, Boston Children’s is one of the only pediatric hospitals in the world with full clinical programs devoted to rare illnesses like Moyamoya disease.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital
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