Migrainous Infarction (stroke caused by migraine)

Jef Community Member November 19, 2008
  • I am a male in my late 40's and have been diagnosed as having had several strokes caused by migraine also known as migrainous infarction, as a complication of hemapalegic migraine. This diagnosis was not rushed into having udergone a series of tests over 18 months and ruling out ALL cardio-vascular problems by several cardiologist including blood pressure, cholesteral and even cleared by 2 trans-echos of my heart. I have seen a rheumatologist and have no indications of autoimmune disorders or vascular disease. The infarcts were clearly visible on CT and MRI scans and the diagnosis of migrainous infarction was made and confirmed by 2 of Canada's top neurologists in the specialty of migraine. My migraine episodes have been controlled by Verapomil a calcium channel blocker, and although I have not undergone genetic testing for a known mutated gene associated with this condition, said genetic defect causes problems with the passing of calcium across molecules, so my success with a calcium channel blocker is seen as indicative of a similar problem within my body. In short, despite the fact that this is an utra-rare condition, it looks like I have it.

     

    I am wondering if there are any other members of this group who have been equally diagnosed with this complication of migraine.

     

    Three of the infarcts I had were small only causing permanent visual aura, however the fourth was a larger stroke impairing my speach and affecting my right side and requiring stroke rehab. At this point 22 months after my last stroke, I am 95% recovered.

     

    My name is Jef (sic, I just abreviate more than most) and I am in Ontario, Canada.

17 Comments
  • tnterpelding
    Sep. 19, 2014

    My 17 year old son had his first stroke in March of 2014, two weeks after finishing a grueling successful high school wrestling season.  He had a couple mild headaches with auras in the year leading up to the stroke.  He had just thrown shot put at an indoor meet and noticed numbness/tingling in his left hand on the bus ride home. ...

    RHMLucky777

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    My 17 year old son had his first stroke in March of 2014, two weeks after finishing a grueling successful high school wrestling season.  He had a couple mild headaches with auras in the year leading up to the stroke.  He had just thrown shot put at an indoor meet and noticed numbness/tingling in his left hand on the bus ride home.  He drove home, fixed a plate of food and was on the couch when my husband found him.  He was disoriented, slowed speech, pocketing food, facial droop and left side weakness.  After a trip to the ER and and extended inpatient stay......no one could give us an answer.  His CTA, MRA, and MRI all showed multiple ischemic strokes and traditional angiogram showed the artery in his brain looked close to normal, maybe a slight narrowing.  Thankfully all symptoms passed and no deficits remained.  He was put on a 10 pound restriction and told no sports for the next few months.  He completed his restriction and went back to sports and lifting. After about 3 weeks of "normalcy" we were on vacation in CO, when he woke up with a dull headache and nauseated feeling. He threw up and then started having tingling in the same 2 fingers. Back to the ER, MRI showed 2 new strokes. He did have a dull headache for the rest of the day with intermittent numbness to the left hand and auras for the next week.  CO doctors couldn't come up with anything new, so we were sent home.  He is now on Verapamil, aspirin, and plavix.  Our family doctor just started him on atorvastatin after reading some studies about that drug helping decrease the risk of stroke in patients that have had previous strokes  Doctors have thrown around RCVS and migraines as diagnosis, but no one is 100% sure.  Once again, he is back on athletic restriction for at least 4 months.  After reading some of the other posts, it is somewhat comforting to see that verapamil has helped so many others.  Does anyone know about athletics or weight lifting with these kinds of events or issues?  My son had dreams of playing either football or baseball in college.  We are so thankful that he is back to normal, but would love definate answers and a plan for the future.

  • Jef
    Jef
    Jan. 02, 2013

    As the originator of this post, I thought I would do a post to let you know how I've been. I'm coming up on the 6 year anniversary of my last and largest migraine stroke. The first couple of years were a struggle both physically and financially as I wasn't able to wiork as much as I had before the stroke. Then I began a period of what I like to call rebuilding,...

    RHMLucky777

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    As the originator of this post, I thought I would do a post to let you know how I've been. I'm coming up on the 6 year anniversary of my last and largest migraine stroke. The first couple of years were a struggle both physically and financially as I wasn't able to wiork as much as I had before the stroke. Then I began a period of what I like to call rebuilding, I set my mind not to just coming back, but coming back better than ever. For me, Verapamil is a wonder drug and for all intents and purposes has completely stopped all migraines and ended 40+ years of headache misery. In a way the strokes were a wake up call for me. I was 45, overweight, not eating right, totally stressed and eating codeine to kill the pain of daily headaches. Migraine was the ultimate cause but I'm sure these other factors must have had an impact on the severity of my condition. I now am 51, I dropped 40 pounds, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, excercise regularly and adjusted my work lifestyle so that I now balance my life better and avoid stress. I take 180mg of Verapamil and 81mg aspirin a day. I now look and feel 15 years younger, I have no wekness in my right side any more and most amazingly the sight in my right eye that went blurry after the stroke has returned to pretty much normal (something I was told could not happen). So to those who follow this post and have experienced this, and to those who will read it in the future, know that it is possible to come back and get better. Yes, it was a huge undertaking and required a lot of work but you are worth the effort. Make no mistake I was quite bad off, slurred speach, vsion issue, hand weakness and a limp, and I beat it all. I don't want to be seen as bragging, I just want you to know that no matter how bad you may feel today tomorrow can be better, don't give up. I took one day at a time and I learned to live well. Best wishes to you all :-)

    Jef

  • nazi
    Sep. 02, 2011

    Well,the same thing happened to my 55 yr old mother last week,when she woke up in the midnight from severe headache ,dizziness(positional true vertigo) and nausia and vomiting ..

    i took her to emergency ward they did the CT scan..it showed nothing.

    after checking her BS and her EKG they diagnosed it as BPPV and started the therapy with betahistin...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Well,the same thing happened to my 55 yr old mother last week,when she woke up in the midnight from severe headache ,dizziness(positional true vertigo) and nausia and vomiting ..

    i took her to emergency ward they did the CT scan..it showed nothing.

    after checking her BS and her EKG they diagnosed it as BPPV and started the therapy with betahistin and plasil tablets...

    but she didnt get well..so i took her back to hospital for the second time the day after and then they took MRI and found there had been infarction in her cerebellum..

    after ruling out other things by echo cardiography, dopler sonography of carotid artries,brain CT angiography...they found out it was caused by a migraine attack...

    now she is better and backed to normal all symptoms gone ,i hope it never happen again.

    • Bestianw
      Dec. 31, 2012

      Dear all, I am Sebestian a long distanced reader from Hong Kong. I would like to share my experience to you all. I have just had a migraine attack recently and what's so different from the past is that apart from aura and headache, I had got slurred speech right hand and face numbness and weakness. It was so scary, although I though it is transient. But the...

      RHMLucky777

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      Dear all, I am Sebestian a long distanced reader from Hong Kong. I would like to share my experience to you all. I have just had a migraine attack recently and what's so different from the past is that apart from aura and headache, I had got slurred speech right hand and face numbness and weakness. It was so scary, although I though it is transient. But the condition doesn't resolve quickly as the aura does, and the numbness and weakness just continued for more than a day although with partial improvement. Then I got into the hospital and did MRI of brain, MRA/MRV, and also autoimmune markers. The report seems that it is a migraine infarction involving the left parietal lobe while other investigations were unremarkable. And now, I am at low dose 10mg BD Propranolol instead of Verampamil. Since it is only few days after the attack, I still doesn't know the usefulness of the drug. I just underestimated this migraine attack, and actually my migraine got lighter and lighter with time and less frequent these years. However, I really didn't expect such a big event could have occured on me. And I hope everyone can recover fully soon and happy new year to 2013 with health!!

    • Nancy Harris Bonk
      Jan. 02, 2013

      I'm so sorry to hear about your recent health scare, but so glad to hear you are feeling better.

       

      As you've said, some people don't realize the implications of Migraine. It is not to be taken lightly.

       

      Best wished for a happy 2013 to you too.

      Nancy 

       

  • Raquel
    Jun. 14, 2011
    I have had 3 migraines in the last two weeks. The first one ended me up in the er with slurred speech and right arm numbness. I have had two migraines since the er with the aura all the while. None of my doctors, neurologist etc have been much help. I am headed to an optomologist tomorrow. Getting an MRA and hopefully seeing a differernt nuerologist as well....
    RHMLucky777
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    I have had 3 migraines in the last two weeks. The first one ended me up in the er with slurred speech and right arm numbness. I have had two migraines since the er with the aura all the while. None of my doctors, neurologist etc have been much help. I am headed to an optomologist tomorrow. Getting an MRA and hopefully seeing a differernt nuerologist as well. my ct scan from the first migraine showed no sign of a stroke. no clue what my triggers are. Used to have migraines as a child but they have been gone for over 10 years. I have been on birthcontorol or several years - I am a 27 year old female. It is all really scary. I think I might have some lingering slurred speech remaining from migraine. The only thing I am noticing is they could possibly be stress related. I also have high triglycerides.
  • My kids mom
    Jan. 20, 2011

    My 22yr old son had the same stroke 3 months ago. We were all stunned when it happened. The doctors ran all kinds of test. He has been seeing a neurologist and a hematologist. The neurologist has concluded that because of the sever headaches he had been having and had the day before the stroke, as well as the one sided headaches he has experienced since the...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    My 22yr old son had the same stroke 3 months ago. We were all stunned when it happened. The doctors ran all kinds of test. He has been seeing a neurologist and a hematologist. The neurologist has concluded that because of the sever headaches he had been having and had the day before the stroke, as well as the one sided headaches he has experienced since the stroke are migraines and that is what caused the stroke. He his now taking medication for migraines. The stroke left him paralyzed on his right side and impaired his speech. He is in therapy now. We are told that because of his age, he could have a full recovery but it will take time. 

     

     

    • Jef
      Jef
      Jan. 20, 2011

      Hi,

      As a parent I understand how frightening this must be for you. Be strong and remember he has youth on his side. I had my last stroke at 45 and they said that because of my realtively young age, I had an advantage at full recovery (and for the most part I have) so just think of the bonus advantage of being just 22 :-)

       

  • Kari in SK
    Jul. 07, 2010

    I have had 5 infarctions, including lesions on damaged parts of my brain, and on both sides of my brain. I have seen several neurolgists, and most don't seem to think it is all that difficult to deal with.  My recent neuro doctor said that it's common, although I've never met another with this condition.  My problem is that I cannot figure out...

    RHMLucky777

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    I have had 5 infarctions, including lesions on damaged parts of my brain, and on both sides of my brain. I have seen several neurolgists, and most don't seem to think it is all that difficult to deal with.  My recent neuro doctor said that it's common, although I've never met another with this condition.  My problem is that I cannot figure out what triggers my silent migraines - They always happen when I'm sleeping, and only once did I get migraine that I felt as a headache and with aura.  My neuro said that if I haven't figured out the triggers in the last 15 years, then I likely won't ever.  The only thing I've found out is that if I'm in a lot of stress, the chances for a TIA or a stroke increases multiples.

     

    • Teri Robert
      Health Guide
      Jul. 07, 2010

      Kari,

       

      Research doesn't indicate that these lesions are all that common, but they're not really rare either.

       

      If your doctor isn't able to help, it may well be time to consult a Migraine and headache specialist. It's important to note that neurologists aren't necessarily Migraine and headache specialists. Take a look at the article Migraine and...

      Read More

      Kari,

       

      Research doesn't indicate that these lesions are all that common, but they're not really rare either.

       

      If your doctor isn't able to help, it may well be time to consult a Migraine and headache specialist. It's important to note that neurologists aren't necessarily Migraine and headache specialists. Take a look at the article Migraine and Headache Specialists - What's So Special? If you need help finding a Migraine specialist, check our listing of Patient Recommended Migraine and Headache Specialists.

       

      When working to identify triggers one of the best tools is a good Migraine diary. I disagree with your neurologist. We should be able to identify our triggers. That's especially helpful if it turns out that some of your triggers are avoidable. You can read more about this and download a free diary workbook in our article Your Migraine and Headache Diary.

       

      Unfortunately, it is fairly common to wake with a Migraine. Do you have any idea what's triggering these Migraines? The most common triggers for waking up with Migraines are sleep problems:
           • too much sleep
           • too little sleep
           • disrupted sleep
           • poor quality sleep
           • irregular sleep schedule
      You can see more about this in our video Migraines, Headaches, and Sleep.

       

      When we have trouble identifying our triggers, it can be helpful to have a lumbar puncture / spinal tap to rule out a condition called idiopathic intracranial hypertension, which can trigger Migraines. You can find more on this in Pseudotumor Cerebri (IIH) - The Basics.

       

      I hope this is helpful,

      Teri

    • Jef
      Jef
      Jul. 07, 2010

      Hi Kari,

      You are the ONLY person I have found after 3 and a half years who has had this condition. My first 3 strokes left me with slight permanent visual auras and slight speech issues. The fourth took my voice completely and caused issues in my right side that linger today. I had to change my lifestyle completely, I got rid of my storefront business and now...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hi Kari,

      You are the ONLY person I have found after 3 and a half years who has had this condition. My first 3 strokes left me with slight permanent visual auras and slight speech issues. The fourth took my voice completely and caused issues in my right side that linger today. I had to change my lifestyle completely, I got rid of my storefront business and now set my own pace and work from home. I had to go to stroke rehab to get speech functionality back. I MUST avoid stress as it can still trigger some side effects. I was placed on Verapamil which is a calcium channel blocker. This cured my lifetimes of migraines and is hoped will prevent future related strokes. There is a known genetic disorder that involves calcium channels and it is believed that is what the root cause of my problem is. I had a variety of "triggers" for migraine but it wasn't consistent. I suffered serious hemiplegic migraine my entire life and 2 or 3 episodes a day was not unusual. I still get some effects from triggers but no big headaches and no body numbness auras, just some visual auras now and then.

    • Jenny Wen
      Dec. 06, 2010

      Jeff - what dose of Verapamil are you on?  I had a major migraine infarct in October.  Before that time, I had a migraine about once every 6-8 weeks and they were bearable.  It never occurred to me it could/would cause a stroke!  I am on 160 mg of verapamil and I now have daily headaches.  I never had daily headaches before.  I...

      RHMLucky777

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      Jeff - what dose of Verapamil are you on?  I had a major migraine infarct in October.  Before that time, I had a migraine about once every 6-8 weeks and they were bearable.  It never occurred to me it could/would cause a stroke!  I am on 160 mg of verapamil and I now have daily headaches.  I never had daily headaches before.  I feel like either the dose is too low or maybe I am not tolerating it well.  Did it take you any time to adjust to?  My stroke was only 7 weeks ago, but I feel like crap most days.  Thankfully my only permanent damage is a small visual aura that is just annoying.  I just can't believe the daily headaches I now have.  It is getting really old!  I too am having a hard time finding others with this diagnosis!  I hope you even still get this message as I can see the posts are quite old!

      Jenny

    • Jef
      Jef
      Dec. 06, 2010

      Hi Jenny,

      So sorry that you've gone through this too. It's now almost 4 years since my last stroke, my speach has completely returned, but I still have a slight limp and the vision in my one eye is severely degraded. All in all though, I'm pretty much back to normal.

      Verapomil was really a wonder drug for me, daily headaches and daily aura events were...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hi Jenny,

      So sorry that you've gone through this too. It's now almost 4 years since my last stroke, my speach has completely returned, but I still have a slight limp and the vision in my one eye is severely degraded. All in all though, I'm pretty much back to normal.

      Verapomil was really a wonder drug for me, daily headaches and daily aura events were common for me for years, but almost as soon as I started taking it my headaches and auras went to almost zero. But I had episodes that had aura-like qualties so my dose was gradually incresed to where I now take 360mg SR per day. I still have my "days" especially when I'm really tired, but I'm told these are also the lingering effects of the strokes. My first 3 went undiagnosed as they were limited to lingering visual auras, it was only because the fourth was so big and so obvious that the diagnosis was arrived at and that's when they put me on the Verapomil (too bad I hadn't been prescribed earlier). Hope it will help you avoid an even more devastating stroke.

      I'm told that some people do not tolerate  Verapomil well and that it can cause a dangerously slow heartbeat in some. I had periodic ECG's over the first couple of years to watch for this condition and luckily it does not affect me in this way, but it is a side effect to keep in mind and watch out for especially if you get into higher doses.

      I'm in no position to tell you if a higher dosage is the way to go, just that for me an increased dosage worked. Best that you discuss it with your doctor.

      Stay well :-)

       

  • Anonymous
    jason
    Dec. 08, 2009

    Hi.  Were you ever dizzy or fatigued?  If so, what did u do?  What permanent deficits if any do u have?

    • Jef
      Jef
      Jul. 07, 2010

      Hi Jason,

      Sorry, I just saw your post (I don't check back very often. Yes, dizziness was a factor. My first 3 strokes caused dizziness so extreme it made me vomit. Each time went to ER and was told it was likely an inner ear problem. Only after the fourth and most severe stroke did they put me in an MRI and could see the 3 previous strokes. The first 3 strokes...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hi Jason,

      Sorry, I just saw your post (I don't check back very often. Yes, dizziness was a factor. My first 3 strokes caused dizziness so extreme it made me vomit. Each time went to ER and was told it was likely an inner ear problem. Only after the fourth and most severe stroke did they put me in an MRI and could see the 3 previous strokes. The first 3 strokes left me with a slight but permanent visual aura. The fourth stroke took my voice, damaged sight and hearing in my right side and caused general right side weakness. I went to stroke rehab and now have my voice back, I get weakness in my right side when I'm tired, and the vision in my right eye seems to be permanently impaired. I was diagnosed with migreainous infarction (migraine strokes) only after EVERYTHING else had been ruled out. You name it, I've been tested for it. Good news is that I know my cardio system is A1 :-) I was placed on Verapamil which cured my headaches and hopefully will keep future strokes away. It is a cacium channel blocker and it is thought that my  migraines are/were caused by a genetic defect involving calcium channels at a cellular level. By all means have dizziness checked as a possible stroke symptom and if it strikes hard and fast get to an ER asap.

      Hope you are keeping well.

      Jef

  • Nancy Harris Bonk
    Nov. 20, 2008

    Hello, and welcome to MyMigraineConnection.com!

     

    I'm sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis. Hemiplegic Migraine (HM) is a rare form of Migraine disease. This condition can is more complicated because there are two variations of this condition -  Familial Hemiplegic Migraine (FHM) and Sporadic Hemiplegic Migraine...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Hello, and welcome to MyMigraineConnection.com!

     

    I'm sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis. Hemiplegic Migraine (HM) is a rare form of Migraine disease. This condition can is more complicated because there are two variations of this condition -  Familial Hemiplegic Migraine (FHM) and Sporadic Hemiplegic Migraine (SHM). HM is the only Migraine that presents with true motor weakness as one of its symptoms. As you've found out, it can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms may be similar to vascular conditions and may be thought to be epilepsy or stroke. Continue reading our article for more information: Hemiplegic Migraine - The Basics

     

    A Migraine specialist is the best doctor to treat refractory (not responding to medications) Migraines and certainly more difficult to treat conditions like HM. I like to think of it this way -  if my car breaks down I take it to a mechanic (the expert) to fix it. I could take my car to my brother-in-law who "fixes" cars in his spare time, but his day job is installing furnaces. So, a neurologist may be a fine doctor, but treats so many different conditions like MS, stroke and Parkinsons, it is hard for them to be experts in any one area. A Migraine specialist only treats people with Migraine and headache disorders - he is the real expert. We have a patient recommended list of specialists you can see HERE

     

    Thank you for creating a SharePost. SharePosts are a form of blogging, and there are many things you can do with them. You can share an experience, suggest something that's helped you, use SharePosts as a Migraine and headache journal, and many other things.

    We also have a discussion forum that you may want to check out. Especially if you have questions or are looking for information, you may find the interaction on the forum to be quite helpful. Here, we have quite a few members who have Hemiplegic Migraine and would be happy to share their information with you. We hope to see you there.  To get to the forum, just look for the orange box marked "Manage" and click on the Migraine Forums link. Because our forums are maintained by a third party, you'll need to register for the forum. You can use the same information you used to create your community log-in if you like. If you want to go directly to the forum, you can click HERE.

    Along with your personal "My Home" page and the discussion forum, you'll find links to a great deal of helpful information and a spot to sign up for our free newsletter on the main page of our site, http://www.MyMigraineConnection.com.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to post them to the forum or send me a message through my profile.

    Welcome again,

     

    Nancy Bonk
    MyMigraineConnection.com Expert

    • candi
      Jan. 08, 2014

      hello nancy

            my name is candi and my moms pretty much had an on going migraine for alil over a month and ahalf now  she had been to the ER twice and got shots that stopped them for alil bit but than this last time they gave her a shot it didnt work at all  they told her thru her mri that her blood veins were getting smaller...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      hello nancy

            my name is candi and my moms pretty much had an on going migraine for alil over a month and ahalf now  she had been to the ER twice and got shots that stopped them for alil bit but than this last time they gave her a shot it didnt work at all  they told her thru her mri that her blood veins were getting smaller thats why shes been having migraines  they put her on meds and told her that it could lead to her having strokes due to lack of blood flow and sent her home well there not very understanding people  im scared for her what do you think about the situation do u have any suggestions tk u

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