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

Updated: Aug 15, 2019
  • Author: William C Robertson, Jr, MD; Chief Editor: Amy Kao, MD  more...
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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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