Moyamoya disease versus moyamoya syndrome: Comparison of presentation and outcome in 338 hemispheres

James Feghali, Risheng Xu, Wuyang Yang, Jason Anthony Liew, Jaishri Blakeley, Edward Ahn, Rafael J. Tamargo, Judy Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE Phenotypic differences between moyamoya disease (MMD) and moyamoya syndrome (MMS) remain unclear. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether such differences exist when presentation, procedure-related, and outcome variables are compared quantitatively. METHODS The study cohort included 185 patients with moyamoya presenting to the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions between 1994 and 2015. Baseline demographic, angiographic, and clinical characteristics were compared between patients with MMS and MMD, in addition to procedure-related complications and length of stay (LOS) after surgery. Stroke-free survival was compared between both disease variants after diagnosis. Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox proportional hazards regression were used to compare stroke-free survival between surgically treated and conservatively managed hemispheres in both types of disease, while evaluating interaction between disease variant and management. RESULTS The cohort consisted of 137 patients with MMD (74%) with a bimodal age distribution and 48 patients with MMS (26%) who were mostly under 18 years of age (75%). Underlying diseases included sickle cell disease (48%), trisomy 21 (12%), neurofibromatosis (23%), and other disorders (17%). Patients with MMS were younger (p < 0.001) and less likely to be female (p = 0.034). Otherwise, baseline characteristics were statistically comparable. The rate of surgical complications was 33% in patients with MMD and 16% in patients with MMS (p = 0.097). Both groups of patients had a similar LOS after surgery (p = 0.823). Survival analysis (n = 330 hemispheres) showed similar stroke-free survival after diagnosis (p = 0.856) and lower stroke hazard in surgically managed patients in both MMD (hazard ratio [HR] 0.29, p = 0.028) and MMS (HR 0.62, p = 0.586). The disease variant (MMD vs MMS) did not affect the relationship between management approach (surgery vs conservative) and stroke hazard (p = 0.787). CONCLUSIONS MMD and MMS have largely comparable clinical and angiographic phenotypes with analogously favorable responses to surgical revascularization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1441-1449
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Cerebral revascularization
  • Moyamoya disease
  • Stroke
  • Vascular disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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