, Volume 113, Issue 3, pp 237-242

Unilateral cranial autonomic symptoms in patients with migraine

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Abstract

The aim of this study is to investigate the frequency of unilateral cranial autonomic symptoms during migraine attacks, and to compare the clinical characteristics of migraine patients with and without unilateral cranial autonomic symptoms. One hundred and eighty-six consecutive patients with episodic migraine attacks were prospectively included. Cranial autonomic symptoms of the patients occurred during headache, frequency, duration, severity and character of headache, disease duration, presence of aura, laterality of headache, accompanying symptoms, relation of migraine attacks with menstruation, lesions detected on magnetic resonance images, and family history of migraine were recorded. The patients with and without unilateral cranial autonomic symptoms during headache were compared in terms of above-mentioned parameters. Seventy-seven (41.4 %) patients were observed to develop unilateral cranial autonomic symptoms during migraine attack. Disease duration was longer in the patients with unilateral cranial autonomic symptoms than in those without (p = 0.045). Headache was unilateral in 83.1 % of the patients with unilateral cranial autonomic symptoms (p = 0.001). Pure menstrual or menstrually related migraine attacks were more common in the patients with unilateral cranial autonomic symptoms (p = 0.043) and is thought that menstruation-related hormonal factors might have a triggering role on the trigeminal-autonomic reflex pathway. The longer disease duration in patients with unilateral cranial autonomic symptoms might be associated with the activation of pathophysiological mechanisms that cause cranial autonomic symptoms in time. Frequent unilateral pain in migraine patients with unilateral cranial autonomic symptoms is likely to indicate that the development of autonomic symptoms may share common mechanisms with the pathogenesis of trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias.