Which physical findings are characteristic of fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD)?

Updated: Jul 27, 2018
  • Author: James A Wilson, MD, MSc, FRCPC; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Because of the broad possibilities of neurologic dysfunction due to stroke caused by FMD, a thorough neurologic examination should be performed. Findings may include anything from cranial nerve deficits to weakness, numbness, and coordination difficulties.

Sensitive signs of motor dysfunction such as pronator drift and plantar responses may yield deficits when formal power assessment does not. The neurovascular examination would not be complete without auscultation for carotid and vertebral artery bruits. If a headache history is provided, assessment for meningismus (eg, nuchal rigidity, Kernig sign, Brudzinski sign) may prove positive.

Because of the systemic nature of FMD, the general physical examination should include a search for signs of renal, visceral, and limb arterial involvement. These signs may include hypertension, decreased peripheral pulses, and even asymmetric limb pressures. Bruits may be found on auscultation of the renal, abdominal, iliac, or subclavian arteries.

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