Arterial Stenosis in Migraine: Spasm or Arteriopathy?

Seymour Solomon, Richard B. Lipton, Phyllis Y. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


SYNOPSIS Segmental arterial narrowing has rarely been angiographically demonstrated in patients with migraine. One new case is reported and 12 previous cases are reviewed. Though often referred to as vasospasm, arteriographic stenosis may result from edema of the vessel wall, arterial dissection, the effects of puerperium or arteritis. A biphasic course of spasm, similar to the pattern noted with subarachnoid hemorrhage, has been recorded in some migraineurs. The current neurogenic and biochemical concepts of “spasm” developed for subarachnoid hemorrhage are reviewed. Arterial narrowing may be important in several phenomena associated with migraine. It may account for migrainous cerebral infarction or hemorrhage. Vasoconstriction has also been invoked to explain the aura and other features of migraine. But the site of stenosis does not always correlate with the headache or focal neurologic features in location or timing. The angiographic changes are probably an epiphenomena rather than a primary mechanism of migraine. These changes may result from altered sympathetic neuronal activity; factors supporting that concept are reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-61
Number of pages10
JournalHeadache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Arterial Stenosis in Migraine: Spasm or Arteriopathy?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this