Formerly called basilar migraine, Migraine with brainstem aura is similar to Migraine with aura except that the aura is of a different quality.

Diagnostic criteria

One or more aura symptoms 5-60 minutes prior to the onset of headache.

  • Visual – wavy lines, blind spots, or flashing lights in the visual field
  • Sensory – tingling or numbness of skin
  • Aphasia – inability to correctly form words or word loss

Plus, at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Dysarthria – slurred speech
  • Vertigo – feeling tha the room is spinning
  • Tinnitus – ringing, roaring, hissing, buzzing in the ears
  • Hypacusis – partial hearing loss
  • Diplopia – double vision
  • Ataxia – lack of muscle coordination, gait abnormality
  • Decreased level of consciouness

With at least two of these characteristics:

  • at least one aura spreads over 5 minutes and/or two or more different auras occur in succession.
  • Each aura lasts 5-60 minutes.
  • At least one aura occurs on only one side of the body.
  • Headache accompanies or follows aura symptoms within 60 minutes
  • The headache is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, increased light sensitivity, and/or sound sensitivity.


Headache Classification Committee of the International Headache Society (IHS) (2013). The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd edition (beta version). Cephalalgia 2013; 33: 9-807.

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