Migraine Features in Patients With Isolated Aural Fullness and Proposal for a New Diagnosis

Otol Neurotol. 2021 Dec 1;42(10):1580-1584. doi: 10.1097/MAO.0000000000003324.


Objective: To compare the presence of migraine features between patients with isolated aural fullness (AF) who meet the diagnostic criteria for migraine headache and those who do not, and to propose diagnostic criteria for migraine-related AF based on our results.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study of patients presenting to a tertiary-care neurotology clinic between 2014 and 2020 with migraine-related AF. This was defined as isolated, prolonged aural fullness concurrent with migraine features once other etiologies were ruled out via examination, audiometry, and imaging. Migraine features were compared between patients meeting the diagnostic criteria for migraine headache and those not meeting the criteria.

Results: Seventy-seven patients with migraine-related AF were included. The mean age was 56 ± 15 years and 55 (71%) patients were female. Eleven (14%) patients fulfilled the criteria for migraine headache (migraine group). Of the 66 patients who did not meet the criteria (nonmigraine group), 17 (26%) met 4/5 criteria, and 32 (48%) met 3/5 criteria, for a total of 49 (74%) patients. The migraine and nonmigraine groups were only different in 5 of 20 features, including family history of migraine (p = 0.007), sound sensitivity (p < 0.001), mental fogginess (p = 0.008), visual motion sensitivity (p = 0.008), and light sensitivity (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: There are minimal differences in the overall prevalence of migraine features between patients with migraine-related AF who meet and do not meet the diagnostic criteria for migraine. Our findings suggest that the criteria may be too stringent and exclude many patients from potentially benefitting from treatment with migraine prophylaxis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders* / complications
  • Migraine Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Migraine Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies