Moyamoya Diagnosis

Moyamoya disease is rare, but at UT Southwestern, we always consider it when evaluating any patient who’s had a stroke or is experiencing stroke symptoms, particularly if the patient is young and has no obvious risk factors for stroke. Misdiagnosis of moyamoya or a delay in a moyamoya diagnosis can be life threatening.

Our team of neurologists, neuroradiologists, and other brain disorder specialists have decades of experience evaluating moyamoya – something few other medical centers in the U.S. can offer.

What to Expect

The first step in evaluating and diagnosing moyamoya is a computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan using the latest advanced imaging equipment. Our neuroradiologists, who focus only on scans of the brain, work with other team members to establish an initial diagnosis.

These imaging studies can reveal the characteristic arterial narrowing and abnormal blood vessels of moyamoya that have the appearance of a puff of smoke (the Japanese word “moyamoya”). Imaging also can reveal evidence of a history of multiple small strokes.

If the initial round of imaging studies suggests moyamoya, we’ll perform cerebral angiography, a test that creates images of the blood flow through the brain, to confirm it. If necessary, we may perform additional blood flow studies to help us identify the exact areas of the brain that aren’t receiving enough oxygen.

While imaging studies usually reveal moyamoya, evaluation of your disease won’t stop there. Additional diagnostic tools include:

  • Medical and family history
  • Neuropsychological assessment – Examining your memory and your ability to think and speak helps us determine any cognitive changes you may be experiencing as a result of moyamoya and provides a baseline of cognitive abilities before we set a treatment plan. We’ll compare these results to those of a second assessment after surgery.

Once your moyamoya evaluation is complete, our team will talk to you about your treatment options.

Request an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with a moyamoya specialist at UT Southwestern’s facilities in Dallas, or to learn more about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.