A specific population of young patients with moyamoya disease (MMD) persistently experience physical symptoms not attributable to focal ischemia. These symptoms, highly suggestive of orthostatic intolerance (also termed “orthostatic dysregulation”), were investigated and reported as potential determinants of quality of life in young MMD patients.
Forty-six patients (6–30 years of age) were selected from a group of 122 patients who were diagnosed with MMD before 18 years of age. The authors administered a structured questionnaire consisting of 11 items based on screening checklists published in the Japanese clinical guidelines for juvenile orthostatic dysregulation in young patients. The results were tabulated, and correlations with clinical data were explored.
Thirty-seven (80%) patients (mean age 15.9 years) responded to the questionnaire. Frequent headache, vertigo/dizziness on standing, fatigue, difficulty with getting out of bed, and motion sickness were the top 5 symptoms, resulting in 57% of patients being unable to attend school. Forty-three percent of the patients demonstrated multiple symptoms suggestive of orthostatic intolerance, even as long as 5 years after revascularization surgery. The number of symptoms was inversely associated with the number of years after surgery (p = 0.028). The number of symptoms was not associated with a history of surgery, clinical presentations, vascular involvement, cerebral perfusion, brain lesions, or history of transient ischemic attacks.
The present study provided novel insight into the symptomatology of young patients with MMD. Failure to notice nonfocal physical symptoms can significantly impair quality of life in young patients with MMD even years after successful revascularization surgery. These symptoms may serve as independent clinical markers used to assess disease outcome, although the underlying mechanisms of this disease are, as of yet, unclear.