What is a Migrainous Infarction

Migraine is the cause of some strokes
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Migrainous infarction is a term that was originally coined by the International Headache Society to describe strokes which occur in the setting of a migraine attack. The word infarction, as used in this term, has the same meaning as the word stroke. Thus, this condition is also known as "migraine-induced stroke".

But not every stroke that occurs in the setting of a migraine can be called a migrainous infarction.

The following characteristics must be present for a stroke to be considered a migrainous infarction:

  • The migraine attack must be preceded by an aura
  • The migraine attack must be similar in intensity to previous migraine attacks
  • The migraine aura must persist for hours, or days
  • A stroke must be seen in a CT or MRI scan
  • The stroke must be located in a part of the brain which explains the symptoms of the stroke
  • All other possible causes of stroke must have been ruled out

Using these strict criteria, migrainous-infarction accounts for approximately 0.8% of all strokes, but for approximately 4% of strokes that occur in people younger than 50.

Learn more about when you should worry about headaches and how to cope with headaches after a stroke.

Bono, G; Minonzio, G; Mauri, M; Clerici AM; Complications of migraine: migrainous infarction; Clinical and Experimental Hypertension; 2006; 28:233-242

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