Symptoms and patterns of symptom propagation in incipient ischemic stroke and migraine aura.

Scutelnic, Adrian; Bracher, Jacqueline; Kreis, Lukas A; Beyeler, Morin; Fischer, Urs; Arnold, Marcel; Mattle, Heinrich P; Jung, Simon; Schankin, Christoph J (2022). Symptoms and patterns of symptom propagation in incipient ischemic stroke and migraine aura. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 16(1077737), p. 1077737. Frontiers Research Foundation 10.3389/fnhum.2022.1077737

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Taking a detailed history of symptoms is important for differentiating incipient ischemic stroke and migraine aura. The aim of our study is to describe in detail symptom type and temporal pattern of symptom evolution (i.e., symptom succession and the time lapse between symptoms) and to identify differentiating clinical features in patients with ischemic stroke and migraine with aura.


Consecutive patients with ischemic stroke and migraine with aura were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Stroke diagnosis was confirmed by imaging and migraine with aura was diagnosed according to the current criteria of the International Headache Society. Wake-up strokes and patients with severe cognitive deficits were excluded.


In stroke patients and migraine patients, respectively, 50/78 (64%) vs. 123/326 (37%) had one, 18 (23%) vs. 127 (38%) had two, 5 (6%) vs. 69 (21%) had three, 2 (2%) vs. 4 (1%) had four, and 3 (3%) vs. 3 (1%) had five visual symptoms. In respect of sensory symptoms, 76/145 (52.4%) vs. 116/175 (66%) reported paresthesia and 92/145 (63.4%) vs. 132 (75%) numbness. Looking at the beginning, visual symptoms were the first symptom more often in migraine aura than in ischemic stroke (72.1 vs 18.8%, P < 0.001; PPV 86.8%). Sensory (29 vs 13.9%, P = 0.001; PPV 54.8%) and motor symptoms (20.5 vs 1.4%, P < 0.001; PPV 88.9%) were the first symptom more frequently in ischemic stroke. Of patients with consecutive symptoms, 39 of 201 (19%) compared to 34 of 117 (29%) (P = 0.02; PPV 46.6%) reported at least two simultaneous symptoms. A time lapse between symptoms of < 1 min (18.6 vs 6.3%, P < 0.001; PPV 57.1%) and > 360 min (15.8 vs 0%, χ2 = 39.61, P < 0.001; PPV 100%) was more frequent in stroke whereas a time lapse between 5 and 60 min was more frequent in migraine aura (41.1 vs 68.7%, χ2 = 23.52, P < 0.001; PPV 78.7%).


There is a significant overlap in the clinical presentation of stroke and migraine aura. In particular, a substantial proportion of patients in one group had symptoms that are traditionally attributed to the other group. This study highlights the similarities and differences between symptoms of ischemic stroke and migraine aura and challenges our reasoning in daily clinical practice.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology

UniBE Contributor:

Scutelnic, Adrian, Beyeler, Morin, Fischer, Urs Martin, Arnold, Marcel, Mattle, Heinrich, Jung, Simon, Schankin, Christoph Josef


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Frontiers Research Foundation




Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

07 Feb 2023 11:12

Last Modified:

12 Feb 2023 02:26

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

acute neurological deficit dynamics ischemic stroke migraine aura transient ischemic attack




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