Fibromuscular dysplasia, although considered a rare disease, affects nearly 4% of Americans, or more than 5 million people, according to results of a registry presented at the 24th Annual International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy.
Further, more than 90% of those who have fibromuscular dysplasia are women, researchers reported at the meeting.
"Although it is unclear what causes [fibromuscular dysplasia], about 10% to 12% of people with the condition have a close relative who has it," Jeffrey W. Olin, DO, director of vascular medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, said in a news release. "There are many, many unanswered questions about fibromuscular dysplasia. We're hopeful information gathered through the registry will help us answer those questions, spread the word about how common this condition is and help people get treatment earlier."
There has been virtually no new information on fibromuscular dysplasia in the last 30 years, with the exception of small case series, single case reports, little on genetics and no new classification since the Mayo Clinic definition 40 years ago, Olin said.
Olin and colleagues reported on 339 registry patients enrolled at seven US centers, 91% of whom were women. More than 95% of patients experienced one or more symptoms, with the most common listed as hypertension (66%), headache (53%), pulsatile tinnitus (30%) and dizziness (28%). Fifteen patients (4.4%) had no signs or symptoms; they were discovered incidentally by imaging or another reason, Olin said. Overall, 19% of patients had a tear in an artery, most often in the carotid artery, and 17% had an aneurysm, most often in the renal artery.
The researchers also assessed fibromuscular dysplasia location in 309
patients. They found that it was most common in the renal arteries (69%),
followed by the carotid arteries (62%).
"It's important to diagnose the disease because 20% of people who have fibromuscular dysplasia have an aneurysm somewhere in their body that could leak or burst, a life-threatening condition," Olin said. "Doctors need to look for fibromuscular dysplasia, particularly in patients younger than 35 who have high blood pressure or migraine-type headaches."
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Disclosure: Dr. Olin reports no relevant financial disclosures.