What is basilar type migraine?

Basilar type migraine is a rare form of migraine headache. The symptoms of basilar type migraine are related to the base of the brain, known as the brainstem, which is located near a major blood vessel known as the basilar artery. However this blood vessel itself has not been proven to be the cause of the symptoms characteristic of this migraine variant, and the term “basilar artery migraine” has been replaced with the term “basilar type migraine.”

Basilar type migraine affects both men and women, but is more common in young women. Initially, when the condition was first described, it was thought to affect only adolescent females. Females are affected three times as commonly as males, as with classic migraine.

Basilar type migraine is characterized by an aura (perceptual symptoms that precede a migraine) that produces symptoms such as double vision, dizziness, vertigo, problems with balance, changes in hearing and speech, and numbness and tingling. These symptoms may cause a person to appear intoxicated. Loss of consciousness is also possible, but weakness is not a feature of the aura. In general, the aura of basilar type migraine lasts an hour or less.

The symptoms of the aura have no permanent neurological effects. After the aura ends, the typical symptoms of migraine headache begin. The duration and course of the subsequent migraine headache vary from person to person. Some people with migraine have less severe or less frequent symptoms, while others may have symptoms that are so severe and frequent that the symptoms can keep them from performing normal activities.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms, such as double or blurred vision, confusion or loss of consciousness for even a brief moment, weakness or loss of strength on one side of the body, or numbness or tingling in the arms or legs on one side of your body, as these may be a sign of stroke.


What are the symptoms of basilar type migraine?

Basilar type migraine is preceded by a characteristic aura that causes symptoms related to a disturbance in the function of your brainstem.

Aura symptoms of basilar type migraine

The aura of basilar type migraine is characterized by symptoms such as:


What causes basilar type migraine?

Migraines are believed to be caused by abnormal brain activity that involves different chemicals and nerves. This activity alters the flow of blood in your brain and in surrounding areas, such as your eyes, face and neck. While basilar type migraine has symptoms related to the brainstem (the location of the basilar artery), the involvement of the basilar artery in basilar type migraine has not ... Read more about basilar artery migrainecauses


How is basilar type migraine treated?

Treatment for basilar type migraine begins with seeking medical care from your health care provider. To determine if you have basilar type migraine, your health care provider may ask you to undergo diagnostic testing.

Treatment for stopping basilar type migraine headaches

Pain-relieving treatment for basilar type migraine can be an effective method to reduce the severit... Read more about basilar artery migrainetreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Brain and Nerves