Spontaneous Bilateral Internal Carotid Artery Dissection and Migraine: A Potential Diagnostic Delay


Dr. R.F. Duyff, Department of Neurology, St. Lucas Andreas Ziekenhuis, PO Box 9243, 1006 AE Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


A 36-year-old man with a history of migraine without aura, presented with recurrent bouts of severe headache, perception of flashing lights in both visual fields, and transient bilateral neurological deficits. In view of his history, migraine with aura was considered. Ancillary investigations showed bilateral extracranial internal carotid artery dissection. This case illustrates that when attacks of severe headache with scotomata and transient bilateral neurological deficits occur in a patient with a history of migraine, the diagnosis of carotid artery dissection should be considered, especially when the pattern of headache is different or when some clinical characteristics have not been experienced previously.