Using perfusion weighted imaging, we studied 28 spontaneous migraine episodes; 7 during visual aura (n = 6), 7 during the headache phase following visual aura (n = 3), and 14 cases of migraine without aura (n = 13). The data were analyzed using a region-of-interest-based approach. During aura, relative cerebral blood flow (rCBF) was significantly decreased (27% +/- 0.07) in occipital cortex contralateral to the affected hemifield. rCBV was decreased (15% +/- 0.12) and mean transit time increased (32% +/- 0.3), persisting up to 2.5 h into the headache phase. Other brain regions did not show significant perfusion changes. During migraine without aura, no significant hemodynamic changes were observed. In one patient who experienced both migraine with and without aura, perfusion deficits were observed only during migraine with aura. These findings suggest that decremental blood flow changes in occipital lobe are most characteristic of migraine with aura.