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What is a Migrainous Infarction?

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Updated March 31, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: What is a Migrainous Infarction?
Answer:

A migrainous infarction is one of the complications of migraine headaches. According to the International Headache Society, it consists of "one or more migrainous aura symptoms associated with an ischemic brain lesion in appropriate territory demonstrated by neuroimaging." During a migraine with aura, a patient also has a stroke in the area of the brain from which the symptoms of the aura occur.

For a migraine to fit the criteria for Migrainous Infarction, it must include the following:

  • The migraine must have an aura
  • The migraine attack must be similar in intensity to previous migraines
  • The aura symptoms must last longer than 60 minutes
  • The stroke must occur in the area of the brain that can explain the aura symptoms
  • The stroke cannot be caused by another medical condition

If your symptoms are not like your usual migraine aura, call your health care provider. He or she can instruct you on what you should do next. If you feel that you are experiencing a stroke, call 911 immediately. If you are having a stroke, early medical treatment may help you limit the amount of permanent damage that is done.

Source:

Bono, G; Minonzio, G; Mauri, M; Clerici AM; Complications of migraine: migrainous infarction; Clinical and Experimental Hypertension; 2006; 28:233-242

Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society. The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd edn. Cephalalgia 2004; 24(Suppl. 1): 1–160

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