Clinical and angiographic findings in migraine are briefly reviewed in relation to cerebral hemodynamic changes shown by regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) studies. Three cases of migraine studied by the intracarotid xenon 133 method during attacks are reported.
In classic migraine, with typical prodromal symptoms, a decrease in cerebral blood flow has been demonstrated during the aura. Occasionally, this flow decrease persists during the headache phase. In common migraine, where such prodr.omata are not seen, a flow decrease has not been demonstrated.
During the headache phase of both types of migraine, rCBF has usually been found to be normal or in the high range of normal values. The high values may represent postischemic hyperemia, but are probably more frequently secondary to arousal caused by pain.
Thus, during the headache phase rCBF may be subnormal, normal or high. These findings do not exclude the possibility of distension of the larger intracranial arteries during migraine headache, but the angiographic evidence, however limited, does not support this speculation.