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Abstract

Regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) following carotid arteriography was studied in thirteen patients with classic migraine. Using the 133xenon intraarterial injection method, rCBF was measured in 254 areas in one hemisphere. Nine patients developed a characteristic attack following arteriography and were examined by a series of rCBF studies, spaced by intervals of 5 to 10 minutes. A wave of reduced blood flow originating in the posterior part of the brain and progressing anteriorly was observed in eight of the nine patients. The oligemia advanced at a speed of 2 mm per minute over the hemisphere, progressing anteriorly but not crossing the rolandic or sylvian sulcus. Typically, the spreading oligemia reached the primary sensorimotor area after symptoms from that area had begun and persisted there long after the focal symptoms had disappeared. The observed time course suggests that the focal symptoms are not secondary to the oligemia. We suggest that focal symptoms and blood flow changes may be secondary to spreading depression of Leao.