ICHD-3 is significantly more specific than ICHD-3 beta for diagnosis of migraine with aura and with typical aura

Carl H. Göbel*, Sarah C. Karstedt, Thomas F. Münte, Hartmut Göbel, Sebastian Wolfrum, Elena R. Lebedeva, Jes Olesen, Georg Royl

*Corresponding author for this work


Background: In the emergency room, distinguishing between a migraine with aura and a transient ischemic attack (TIA) is often not straightforward and mistakes can be harmful to both the patient and to society. To account for this difficulty, the third edition of the International Classification of Headache disorders (ICHD-3) changed the diagnostic criteria of migraine with aura. Methods: One hundred twenty-eight patients referred to the emergency room at the University Hospital of Lübeck, Germany with a suspected TIA were prospectively interviewed about their symptoms leading to admission shortly after initial presentation. The diagnosis that resulted from applying the ICHD-3 and ICHD-3 beta diagnostic criteria was compared to the diagnosis made independently by the treating physicians performing the usual diagnostic work-up. Results: The new ICHD-3 diagnostic criteria for migraine with aura and migraine with typical aura display an excellent specificity (96 and 98% respectively), and are significantly more specific than the previous ICHD-3 beta classification system when it comes to diagnosing a first single attack (probable migraine with aura and probable migraine with typical aura). Conclusions: The ICHD-3 is a highly useful tool for the clinical neurologist in order to distinguish between a migraine with aura and a TIA, already at the first point of patient contact, such as in the emergency department or a TIA clinic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
JournalJournal of Headache and Pain
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 07.01.2020

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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