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Hemicrania Continua Secondary to an Ipsilateral Brainstem Lesion


  • Marcelo M. Valença MD, PhD,

  • Luciana P. A. Andrade-Valença MD, PhD,

  • Wilson Farias Da Silva MD,

  • David W. Dodick MD

  • From the Department of Neuropsychiatry, Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil (Drs. Valença and Farias da Silva); Department of Neurology, University of Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil (Dr. Andrade-Valença); Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ, USA.

Address all correspondence to Dr. Marcelo Valença, Federal University of Pernambuco, Department of Neuropsychiatry, Cidade Universitária, Recife, Brazil 50670-420.


We describe a 47-year-old woman with a 3-year history of a continuum mild-moderate right-side headache, with exacerbations, associated with stabbing volleys of pain on right orbit-temporal region (10/10) and right eye ptosis and lacrimation with conjunctival injection. The pain was completely abolished with indomethacin (100 mg per day). The diagnosis of hemicrania continua was made according to the International Headache Society (IHS) criteria. The headache presentation was precipitated by a stroke and a right-side brainstem lesion was present at magnetic resonance imaging. This case report shows anatomoclinical evidence of the involvement of brainstem structures on the pathophysiology of hemicrania continua.