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Arteriopathy Clinic

NorthShore’s Arteriopathy Clinic focuses on the care of patients with diseases of the arteries. Our vascular medicine specialists provide multidisciplinary and comprehensive care for individuals with non-atherosclerotic arterial disease and complex arterial disorders, including:

  • Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD)
  • Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD)
  • Aneurysmal Disease
  • Systemic Diseases that affect arterial structure such as Marfan syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, segmental arterial mediolysis (SAM), vasculitis or thromboangiitis obliterans (Buerger’s disease)

We deliver individualized care from diagnosis and treatment (medical and interventional) to surveillance. Our vascular medicine experts closely collaborate with other NorthShore vascular specialists in managing your care. They may consult with cardiologists, vascular neurologists, endovascular specialists, vascular and cardiac surgeons, medical geneticists and exercise physiologists depending on your unique situation.

Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD)

Fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD) is a non-inflammatory disorder that affects one or more arteries in the body. A disease of the arterial wall, FMD can cause narrowing, bulging (aneurysm formation) and dissection (tears) but rarely, blockage of the arteries. FMD is more often diagnosed in women than men.

The involvement of neck and kidney arteries is commonly seen in patients with FMD. Arterial imaging may show a “string of beads” appearance, helping to provide a definitive diagnosis of the disease. Some patients, though, may not have this arterial appearance. Patients with FMD may be completely asymptomatic or may only have symptoms associated with the affected organ. Some signs of the condition may include:

  • Presence of “bruit”—turbulent arterial blood flow sounds or a swooshing sound—in the  affected area such as the head or neck
  • Tinnitus when head and neck arteries are involved
  • Kidney artery involvement that may cause high blood pressure. Dissection of the kidney artery can cause disrupted blood flow to the kidney (kidney infarction) or flank pain.
  • Leg artery involvement that may lead to leg pain when walking (claudication)
  • Stroke symptoms due to brain aneurysm rupture or brain artery dissection
  • Migraine headache-like symptoms that can be associated with FMD of the head and neck

The cause of FMD is not known at this time. While there has been some genetic association, no single gene is recognized as the cause. Environmental and behavioral factors such as smoking may contribute to the development of the condition. The majority of FMD patients benefit from ongoing medical management by knowledgeable vascular experts with a special interest and training in arteriopathy. Through our Arteriopathy Clinic, we educate patients about the warning signs of severe complications of the disease. These complications could cut the blood supply to an organ or compromise arterial function. For a small number of patients, complications may require invasive vascular or endovascular surgical intervention.

Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD):

A non-inflammatory artery disease, spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) is emerging as one of the leading causes of acute coronary syndrome (heart attack) and cardiac-related death among young women without significant atherosclerosis or heart disease. SCAD results from the tearing of one or more coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart. This serious condition can lead to heart attack, and possible sudden cardiac death. Pregnancy, physical stress and emotional stress all have been shown to be provoking factors

The symptoms of SCAD commonly include sudden onset of chest pain and symptoms similar to a heart attack. At NorthShore, we use diagnostics tests to confirm dissection (tears) of the coronary arteries and guide treatment. Recent studies support the presence of concurrent arteriopathies such as fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD) in patients with SCAD. Patients at high-risk for SCAD should undergo appropriate screening and receive careful monitoring.

Urgent, short-term and long-term care of patients with SCAD depends on the expertise of vascular specialists experienced in the specific diagnosis and treatment of this condition. Prompt diagnosis of the SCAD may greatly influence appropriate decision making for medical and surgical management, prevent recurrence, and optimize outcomes. SCAD patients also may require screening of the vascular structure of other organs in the body to avoid a major coronary event.


For More Information

To request additional information or to schedule an appointment with one of our vascular medicine specialists, please call 847.663.8050and ask for the Vascular Medicine Arteriopathy Clinic.