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Cephalalgia. 2013 Nov;33(15):1258-63. doi: 10.1177/0333102413491027. Epub 2013 Jun 13.

The diagnostic role for susceptibility-weighted MRI during sporadic hemiplegic migraine.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Neurology, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH, USA.



Hemiplegic migraine is a rare form of migraine with aura that includes motor weakness. Diagnosis during the first episode can be difficult to make and costly, especially with the sporadic form.


Our study evaluates the ictal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features of four sequential pediatric patients during a first-time, sporadic hemiplegic migraine. Susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI) revealed cerebral venous prominence and increased magnetic susceptibility affecting brain regions that corresponded with each patient's neurologic deficits. Repeat MRI (performed in three patients) following migraine recovery demonstrated resolution of all susceptibility abnormalities.


When combined with conventional MRI sequences, SWI has diagnostic value in the acute setting of motor weakness and with clinical features consistent with hemiplegic migraine. The sequence may help to further characterize ictal cerebral blood flow changes during the hemiplegic migraine aura.


Hemiplegic migraine; magnetic resonance imaging; pediatric; susceptibility-weighted imaging

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