February 1995

Cerebral Blood Flow During Migraine Attacks Without Aura and Effect of Sumatriptan

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Neurology (Drs Ferrari, Haan, and Minnee), Radiology and Nuclear Medicine (Drs Blokland, Arndt, and Pauwels), and Medical Statistics (Dr Zwinderman), University Hospital, Leiden, and the Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Erasmus University, Rotterdam (Dr Saxena), the Netherlands; and the Dutch Migraine Research Group (Drs Ferrari, Haan, and Saxena).

Arch Neurol. 1995;52(2):135-139. doi:10.1001/archneur.1995.00540260037013

Objective:  To study regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) during migraine attacks without aura and after treatment with sumatriptan.

Design and Intervention:  We performed three technetium Tc 99m hexemethyl-propyleneamineoxime single photon emission computed tomography scanning procedures in patients with migraine who participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial (1) outside an attack, (2) during an attack, and (3) after treatment of the attack with 6 mg of subcutaneous sumatriptan.

Setting:  University hospital.

Patients:  We studied 20 patients with migraine without aura, 15 of whom were evaluated under all three conditions and five of whom were evaluated under only two conditions.

Outcome Measures:  The single photon emission computed tomographic images were evaluated semiquantitatively with regard to (1) the degree of asymmetry of the rCBF between the headache side and the nonheadache side and (2) the ratio of the rCBF in regions of interest to the rCBF in two reference areas (cerebellum or frontal cortex).

Results:  We found no significant rCBF asymmetries outside or during the attack or after treatment with sumatriptan, and there were no significant changes of the rCBF ratios during the attack (compared with outside the attack) or after treatment of the attack (compared with during the attack).

Conclusion:  Migraine attacks without aura and treatment of the attacks with 6 mg of subcutaneous sumatriptan are not associated with detectable focal changes of the rCBF.