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The Moyamoya Program at Boston Children’s Hospital provides the full spectrum of diagnostic, consultation, surgical, and follow-up care services for children and adolescents with moyamoya. This life-threatening condition causes a slowing of the blood flow to the brain.

Our depth of experience in moyamoya

Our team of moyamoya experts collaborate with our clinicians across the hospital — from neurologists, radiologists, and anesthesiologists to physical therapists, social workers, and speech therapists — to devise a comprehensive treatment plan that is right for your child and family.

Because some children with moyamoya are also living with other medical conditions, like Down syndrome, sickle cell disease, and neurofibromatosis, our clinicians work closely with specialists throughout the hospital to deliver care for all of our patients’ needs.

Why choose the Moyamoya Program?

The Boston Children’s Moyamoya Program is the largest center of its kind in the country — and our team is the most experienced in caring for children and adolescents with this rare condition. Our physicians played a key role in developing the American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines for management of stroke and moyamoya.

We are also the highest volume center for surgical treatment, called revascularization, in patients with moyamoya, with the shortest length of stay and best outcomes.

Kwak family (mom, dad, two adult children)

Meet a moyamoya patient turned doctor

Elizabeth Kwak is living proof of how far the treatment of moyamoya has come. She talks about her experience with moyamoya and how it has dramatically shaped the course of her life.

Innovative procedures

The only effective long-term treatment for moyamoya is surgery. In 1985, Boston Children’s neurosurgeon R. Michael Scott, MD, developed and first performed a procedure called pial synangiosis that directly applies a healthy artery onto the affected area of a child’s brain. Since then, he and Edward Smith, MD, have used pial synangiosis to treat more than 50 children each year with moyamoya.

In addition, we also offer several other leading-edge treatment options including:

  • same-anesthesia bilateral hemisphere revascularization
  • surgical treatment of sickle cell patients with moyamoya, including timed exchange transfusions, ICU management, and medication regimen
  • specific surgical protocols for patients who have moyamoya and neurofibromatosis or Down syndrome
  • occipital synangiosis for cerebral revascularization

Leading-edge research

Our physicians conduct research into the causes, development, and treatment of moyamoya. Our research efforts include:

  • studying how blood vessels in the brain respond to moyamoya and to surgical treatment
  • examining the alterations of blood flow in the brains of children with moyamoya
  • determining how certain components of the blood and cerebrospinal fluid may influence the onset and progression of moyamoya
  • developing new, noninvasive methods of diagnosing moyamoya at an early stage, before disabling strokes occur

Read more on our research and innovation page.