Moyamoya vasculopathy in a young Caucasian woman with significant methamphetamine use

Tiffany Lin, Charmaine Yam, Su-Lung Lai, Geoffrey Christopher Cloud

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Background Moyamoya is a rare cerebrovascular disorder seen predominantly in Asian populations. Methamphetamine use is a recognised cause of stroke in young people, but its pathophysiology is not fully understood. The incidence of moyamoya vasculopathy in methamphetamine-associated stroke is unknown due to a lack of sufficient data. We present a rare case of moyamoya syndrome in a young Caucasian woman with methamphetamine-associated stroke.

Case A 31-year-old Caucasian woman presented with progressive right arm weakness, speech disturbance and seizures on a background of escalating methamphetamine use in the 9 months prior to admission. She did not have a personal or family history of stroke. MRI revealed both embolic and watershed infarcts in bilateral frontal regions and CT angiography showed development of new lenticulostriate collateral vessels. Digital subtraction angiography confirmed steno-occlusive disease of the bilateral anterior circulations and a ‘puff of smoke’ appearance.

Conclusion In young patients who present with stroke with unclear aetiology, it is important to obtain a thorough substance use history. Moyamoya vasculopathy should be considered when evaluating the pathophysiology of stroke in young people.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000066
Number of pages3
JournalBMJ Neurology Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

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