Acute confusional migraine: is it a distinct form of migraine?

Int J Clin Pract. 2013 Mar;67(3):250-6. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.12094.


The International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD-II) - 2004 recognises many migraine variants (different from migraine without aura and migraine with typical aura), but acute confusional migraine (ACM) remains unclassified and most clinicians are not well acquainted with it.

Aim: The aim of this study was to illustrate ACM in the neuropaediatric practice, to discuss its place in the ICHD-II and to propose diagnostic criteria.

Patients and methods: A total of 2509 files of newly diagnosed patients, aged 0-18 years, treated as in- and outpatients in the Neuropaediatric Ward at the Plovdiv Medical University Hospital between 2002 and 2006 were screened retrospectively. Their diagnosis was based on detailed medical history, physical and neurological examination, additional functional, imaging and laboratory investigations. Migraine and migraine variants were diagnosed according to ICHD-II, but specific forms (e.g. ACM and Alice in wonderland syndrome) were also included.

Results: One hundred and eleven patients met the diagnostic criteria for migraine. Migraine variants comprised 24.3% of all migraine cases. In particular, ACM represented 11.1% of migraine variants or 2.7% of migraine and 0.12% of all paediatric neurological diseases. Here, we report three cases of ACM with analysis of the typical clinical and EEG features, review the literature and propose diagnostic criteria.

Conclusion: ACM may present as either the only manifestation of a migraine attack or in the context of other migraine forms. ACM should have its own distinct place in the ICHD-II, may be as a subtype of migraine with complex aura.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • Male
  • Migraine Disorders / classification
  • Migraine Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Migraine Disorders / etiology
  • Neurologic Examination / methods
  • Retrospective Studies