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The Journal of Headache and Pain

Official Journal of the "European Headache Federation" and of "Lifting The Burden - The Global Campaign against Headache"

The Journal of Headache and Pain Cover Image

Volume 16 Supplement 1

1st Joint ANIRCEF-SISC Congress

Open Access

O010. Migraine aura symptoms last for more than one hour in more than one quarter of patients: results from a prospective diary-aided study

  • Michele Viana1Email author,
  • Mattias Linde2, 3,
  • Grazia Sances1,
  • Natascia Ghiotto1,
  • Elena Guaschino1,
  • Marta Allena1,
  • Giuseppe Nappi1,
  • Peter J Goadsby4 and
  • Cristina Tassorelli1, 5
The Journal of Headache and Pain201516(Suppl 1):A65

Published: 28 September 2015


MigrainePool AnalysisInformed Consent FormRecent Systematic ReviewBiological Marker


As there are no biological markers, a detailed description of symptoms, particularly temporal characteristics, is crucial when diagnosing migraine aura. In ICHD-IIIbeta, migraine aura duration is considered normal when each symptom is no longer than one hour. A recent systematic review of the topic[1] did not find any article exclusively focusing on the duration of the aura. The pooled analysis of data from the literature on aura duration showed that visual symptoms lasting for more than one hour occurred in 6%-10% of patients, sensory symptoms in 14%-27% and dysphasic aura in 17%-60%. Here we investigated the duration of aura symptoms, using a prospective diary-aided approach.


We recruited 176 consecutive patients affected by migraine with aura at the Headache Centres of Pavia and Trondheim. The study received approval by the local Ethics Committees. All patients signed an informed consent form. All the patients prospectively recorded the characteristics of three consecutive attacks in an ad hoc aura diary that included the time of onset and the end of each aura symptom and the headache.


Fifty-four patients completed the study recording in a diary the characteristics of three consecutive auras (n=162 auras). Out of 162 auras that were evaluated, visual symptoms occurred in 159 (97%), sensory symptoms in 52 (32%), and dysphasic symptoms in 18 (11%). The cumulative number of aura symptoms recorded was therefore 229. The median duration of visual, sensory and dysphasic symptoms was 30, 20 and 20 minutes, respectively. Visual symptoms lasted for more than one hour in 14% of auras (n=158), sensory symptoms in 21% of auras (n=52), dysphasic symptoms in 17% of auras (n=17). Twenty-six percent of patients had at least one aura out of three with one symptom lasting for more than one hour.


This is the first study specifically focused on temporal aspects of migraine with aura. We provide data to suggest that aura symptoms may last longer than one hour in a relevant proportion of auras or migraine with aura patients. These findings will contribute to a better phenotypical framing of migraine with aura and may be of help in the review process of the international classification of headache disorders.

Written informed consent to publication was obtained from the patient(s).

Conflict of interest




This study was carried out in collaboration with UCADH (University Consortium for Adaptive Disorders and Head pain), University of Pavia, Italy. This work was supported by grants of the Italian Ministry of Health to RC 2013-2015.

Authors’ Affiliations

Headache Science Centre, C. Mondino National Neurological Institute, Pavia, Italy
Department of Neuroscience, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
Norwegian Advisory Unit on Headaches, St. Olavs University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway
Headache Group, NIHR-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility, King's College, London, UK
Department of Brain and Behavioural Sciences, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy


  1. Viana M, Sprenger T, Andelova M, Goadsby PJ: The typical duration of migraine aura: A systematic review. Cephalalgia. 2013, 33 (7): 483-90. 10.1177/0333102413479834.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar


© Viana et al. 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


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