Sickle cell disease (SCD) in combination with moyamoya syndrome (MMS) represents a rare complication of SCD, with potentially devastating neurological outcomes. The effectiveness of surgical revascularization in this patient population is currently unclear. The authors’ aim was to determine the effectiveness of surgical intervention in their series of SCD-MMS patients by comparing stroke recurrence in those undergoing revascularization and those undergoing conservative transfusion therapy.
The authors performed a retrospective chart review of patients with MMS who were seen at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution between 1990 and 2013. Pediatric patients (age < 18 years) with confirmed diagnoses of SCD and MMS were included. Intracranial stroke occurrence during the follow-up period was compared between surgically and conservatively managed patients.
A total of 15 pediatric SCD-MMS patients (28 affected hemispheres) were included in this study, and all were African American. Seven patients (12 hemispheres) were treated with indirect surgical revascularization. The average age at MMS diagnosis was 9.0 ± 4.0 years, and 9 patients (60.0%) were female. Fourteen patients (93.3%) had strokes before diagnosis of MMS, with an average age at first stroke of 6.6 ± 3.9 years. During an average follow-up period of 11.6 years, 4 patients in the conservative treatment group experienced strokes in 5 hemispheres, whereas no patient undergoing the revascularization procedure had any strokes at follow-up (p = 0.029). Three patients experienced immediate postoperative transient ischemic attacks, but all recovered without subsequent strokes.
Indirect revascularization is suggested as a safe and effective alternative to the best medical therapy alone in patients with SCD-MMS. High-risk patients managed on a regimen of chronic transfusion should be considered for indirect revascularization to maximize the effect of stroke prevention.