What are the signs and symptoms of brainstem aura (basilar migraine)?

Updated: Jan 31, 2018
  • Author: William C Robertson, Jr, MD; Chief Editor: Amy Kao, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Basilar migraine is characterized by disturbances in function originating from the brainstem, occipital cortex, and cerebellum. (The neurologic symptoms are usually brief.) The occipital headache must have at least 2 of the following aura symptoms, which are associated with dysfunction originating from the occipital and/or brainstem area:

  • Ataxia

  • Deafness/hypacusis

  • Tinnitus

  • Decreased level of consciousness

  • Diplopia

  • Vertigo

  • Dysarthria

A history of typical migraine exists in 86% of families studied. Many patients experience migraine with brainstem aura intermingled with typical migraine attacks.


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