The aim of the current study was to determine the clinical characteristics of migraine with aura (MA) as well as the frequency and patterns of perfusion-computed tomography (PCT) alterations, in a series of patients with MA mimicking acute ischemic stroke.
MA is one of the most frequent stroke mimics, following seizures and psychiatric disorders. Previous case reports and short series have reported abnormal PCT patterns in patients with MA.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study including all consecutive patients presenting with focal neurological symptoms during complete multimodal CT including baseline CT, angio-CT, and PCT with a final diagnosis of MA. We collected demographic data and clinical information about MA variables using the hospital electronic database.
We found 25 patients with a final diagnosis of MA among 1761 patients who attended our stroke center with complete multimodal CT (1.4% [95% CI: 0.9-2.1]). Among them, 14/25 (56%) were women, average age 38.7 years (SD 12.5), and 16/25 (64%) had a previous history of migraine. The most frequent type of aura was sensory. The median time elapsed between the onset of symptoms and CT was 171 min (IQR: 119-244). PCT alteration was found in 3/25 (12%) consisting of a hypoperfusion pattern not restricted to a vascular territory. The three patients had aphasia as the presenting symptom.
This is, to the best of our knowledge, the largest series of patients with MA managed as presumed stroke with clinical characteristics and PCT. In our study, most patients were young and had a prior history of migraine. PCT was normal in 88% of cases, with patients being still symptomatic by the time they were scanned. Further research will clarify the presence and type of PCT alterations in this entity.

© 2021 American Headache Society.