Introduction: The diagnosis in the patients with angiographic moyamoya findings and atherogenic risk factors is challenging. In this study, we try to incorporate high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (HRMRI) into the diagnostic process of intracranial atherosclerosis associated moyamoya syndrome.
Methods: From March 2013 to March 2014, HRMRI was consecutively performed on adult patients with angiographic moyamoya. The patients were classified as moyamoya - plaques (MMD-P) if a plaque could be identified or as moyamoya - no plaques (MMD-NP) if a plaque could not be identified. The angiography, HRMRI findings and atherogenic risk factors of these patients were analyzed.
Results: Fifty-one patients (mean age 39±9, 20 males) were enrolled. On traditional angiography, probable intracranial atherosclerosis was identified in 5 patients, no definite diagnosis in 12 patients, and moyamoya disease in 34 patients. On HRMRI, 15 out of 32 patients with risk factors and 4 out of 19 patients without risk factors were found to have plaques and were diagnosed as MMD-P, while the other 32 patients were diagnosed as MMD-NP. The MMD-P patients were more likely to be older and male and were less likely to have cerebral hemorrhage and a history of disease progression.
Conclusions: Our study suggests that HRMRI can help diagnose intracranial atherosclerosis more accurately in moyamoya disease patients with atherogenic risk factors. The distinct clinical features between MMD-P and MMD-NP patients suggest different underlying pathophysiology and therefore potentially different treatment strategies.