Journal of Neurology

, Volume 243, Issue 7, pp 511–515

Cerebral infarcts associated with migraine: Clinical features, risk factors and follow-up


  • R. A. H. Hoekstra-van Dalen
    • Department of NeurologyUniversity Hospital
  • J. P. M. Cillessen
    • Department of NeurologyUniversity Hospital
  • L. J. Kappelle
    • Department of NeurologyUniversity Hospital
  • J. van Gijn
    • Department of NeurologyUniversity Hospital
Original Communication

DOI: 10.1007/BF00886872

Cite this article as:
Hoekstra-van Dalen, R.A.H., Cillessen, J.P.M., Kappelle, L.J. et al. J Neurol (1996) 243: 511. doi:10.1007/BF00886872


There have been few reports concerning the characteristics of cerebral infarction associated with migraine (CIAM), and especially about the subsequent fate of these patients. We studied 14 patients (9 female) with CIAM. In all these patients the onset of cerebral infarction was accompanied by a unilateral throbbing headache, in 8 also with a gradual build-up of neurological deficits. No other cause of cerebral infarction could be found in these patients. Twelve patients had had previous attacks of migraine, with auras in 6. The nature of the neurological deficit was similar to previous auras in only 3 of these patients. The 2 patients without a history of migraine both developed migraine attacks afterwards. During the same period we also studied 14 patients (8 female) with a cerebral infarct of unknown origin (CIUO). The infarct involved the occipital lobe in 11 of the 14 patients with CIAM, whereas this occurred in 4 patients with CIUO [relative risk (RR): 2.8; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.2–6.6]. Patients with CIAM had risk factors for atherosclerosis significantly less often than patients with CIUO (RR: 0.1; 95% CI: 0.02–0.9). The functional outcome of patients with CIAM was better than in patients with CIUO: all 14 patients with CIAM were independent in their daily activities, compared with 9 patients with CIUO (RR: 1.6; 95% CI: 1.1–2.3). No patient in either group had a recurrent stroke during a median follow-up period of 5.8 years. In conclusion. CIAM is a stroke entity causing mostly infarcts in the occipital lobe; vascular risk factors are uncommon and prognosis is generally good.

Key words

MigraineCerebral ischaemiaCerebrovascular disorders
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© Springer-Verlag 1996