OBJECTIVE: Moyamoya vasculopathy is a rare, often bilateral disease characterized by progressive stenosis and occlusion of the distal internal carotid artery, leading to a progressive deterioration of cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR) and increased risk of transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), infarction and hemorrhage. Surgical revascularization is a widely accepted symptomatic treatment, often performed bilaterally in one or two stages. To possibly further optimize treatment strategy, we investigated the effect of unilateral revascularization surgery on the CVR of, and TIA frequency originating from, the contralateral hemisphere.
METHODS: From our database of 143 moyamoya vasculopathy patients we selected those with bilateral disease, who underwent hemodynamic imaging ([15O]H2O positron emission tomography (PET)-CT with acetazolamide challenge) before and 14 months (median) after unilateral revascularization. We evaluated CVR in three regions per hemisphere, and averaged these per hemisphere for statistical comparison. Conservatively treated patients were showed as a comparison group. To examine TIA frequency, we selected patients who presented with TIAs that (also) originated from the contralateral - not to be operated - hemisphere. We scored changes in CVR and TIA frequency of the ipsilateral and contralateral hemisphere over time.
RESULTS: Seven surgical and seven conservative patients were included for CVR comparison. Of the 20 scored contralateral regions in the surgical group, 15 showed improved CVR after unilateral revascularization, while 5 remained stable. The averaged scores improved significantly for both hemispheres. In conservatively treated patients, however, only 3 of the 20 scored regions improved in the least-affected (contralateral) hemispheres, and 9 deteriorated. From the 6 patients with contralateral TIAs at presentation, 4 had a decreased TIA frequency originating from the contralateral hemisphere after unilateral surgery, while 2 patients remained stable.
CONCLUSION: Both CVR and TIA frequency in the contralateral hemisphere can improve after unilateral revascularization surgery in bilateral MMV.