Diagnosis of Fibromuscular Dysplasia

Fibromuscular dysplasia often is diagnosed during imaging tests (e.g., ultrasound, CT scan, MRI scan) that are being performed to evaluate another medical condition. Diagnosis of fibromuscular dysplasia involves ruling out other conditions that cause narrowing (stenosis) of the arteries, such as cardiovascular disease (atherosclerosis) and vasculitis (inflammation of the veins).

Imaging tests, which can detect changes in the lining of the arteries, often are used to diagnose fibromuscular dysplasia. Diagnostic tests include the following:

  • Angiography (coronary angiogram)—This test involves injecting a contrast agent (e.g., special dye) into the bloodstream and taking x-rays of the coronary arteries. It allows the physician to detect fibromuscular dysplasia and stenosis.
  • CT scan (computed tomography scan or computerized axial tomography [CAT] scan)—In this test, a series of x-rays is taken from many different angles and used to create cross-sectional images of the blood vessels.
  • MRA scan (magnetic resonance angiography scan)—This test is a special type of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan that uses electromagnetic radio waves and a contrast agent to produce detailed images of the blood vessels, detect abnormalities, and evaluate blood flow.
  • Ultrasound—In this test, sound waves are used to produce images of blood vessels.

Publication Review By: David J. D'Agate, DO, FACC, FCCP, FAHA, Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 02 Apr 2008

Last Modified: 19 Jan 2011