What is the role of neuroimaging in the workup of migraine variants (equivalents)?

Updated: Oct 16, 2019
  • Author: Rima M Dafer, MD, MPH, FAHA; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Functional neuroimaging studies during and immediately after an attack of migraine have demonstrated abnormalities of perfusion and have helped in understanding the pathophysiology of auras. Similarly, single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scanning might show hypoperfusion during the aura phase.

Neuroimaging with computed tomography (CT) scanning or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is indicated when the patient presents with a first attack of focal neurologic deficits or altered mental status or when focal findings persist between attacks. Neuroimaging studies are frequently obtained to exclude other acute causes of the symptoms and to exclude migrainous infarction in patients with persistent aura.

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