Focal hyperemia followed by spreading oligemia and impaired activation of rcbf in classic migraine



Regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) was measured in 254 areas of a hemisphere with the xenon 133 intraarterial injection method. Six cases of classic migraine were followed from the normal state into the prodromal phase, and in 3 cases further into the headache phase. One patient with common migraine was similarly followed during his only classic attack. The attacks were initiated by focal hyperemia in 3 patients. During prodromes all patients displayed occipitoparietal rCBF reduction (oligemia), but in only 1 case did the reduction approach critical values. Oligemia gradually spread anteriorly in the course of 15 to 45 minutes. In 4 patients a global oligemia was observed. In 4 patients severe headache was present concomitantly with oligemia and with no sign of hyperemia or nonhomogeneous brain perfusion. The normal rCBF increase during cortical activity (hand movement, speech, and similar activities) was impaired in 6 patients. The results indicate that the vasospastic model of the migraine attack is too simplistic.