Migraine aura: I was aware that procedures... - AF Association

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Migraine aura

johnMiosh profile image

I was aware that procedures involving a trans-septal puncture sometimes result in a migraine aura; as an occasional migraine sufferer, I was prepared for this.

During my lie flat recovery period after the catheter ablation, I noticed that I was getting a dull area of vision in the centre of my field of view and if I looked at a bright part of the ceiling, just off centre, I could see wavy lines that looked a little like floating cells. I assumed that this must have been the aura phenomenon people talk about.

My migraine auras normally look nothing like this. For me a migraine starts with a blind spot in the dead centre of my vision. A few minutes afterwards the sight there returns and I get a visual disturbance just to the right and below centre. I know that if a take a couple of paracetamol before this appears I can avoid the migraine.

My migraine aura is difficult to describe, but it is a little like a jagged teardrop on its side, filled with little square boxes. Each box is filled with lines, some vertical and some horizontal, like a TV test card. The lines are alternately very black and dazzling white but sometimes give an impression of a blue or red tinge. Each line flashes, with the black and white changing places a few times per second.

I had dozed throughout the day on the effects of General anaesthetic, but had had a deep sleep between 10:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. At 2:00 a.m. I was awake and suddenly noticed a vision disturbance; there was a tiny black cross in the centre of my field of vision. After a short while, this had disappeared and was replaced by something similar to my migraine aura. It was the same as far as the flashing boxes of lines were concerned, but instead of the small teardrop there were two long lines spreading from the bottom right hand corner of my vision going two thirds of the way across and up my field of view. This lasted two hours before going back to normal; it didn’t result in a migraine headache.

I was fine with this as I had read about it and knew roughly what to expect, but I imagine it could be terrifying to someone unaware of it.

6 Replies
BobD profile image

I'm sure you are right which is why I am so keen to warn people. Mine started as a zig zggy yellow light similar to a tungsten lamp filament which grew outwards leaving a blind spot for several minutes which I could look around. The pains never started until the aura was almost gone (maybe 2-30 minutes) and I was never able to find any drug to deal with that pain. Ablation aura never gave me any pains. Not had a full blown migraine since I retired 20 years ago. Thank you Lloyds Bank. ha ha

Interesting - I copyedit papers on migraine and I've never come across one on this phenomenon. Migraine aura is driven by cortical spreading depression, isn't it? I wonder how the operation triggers that... Strange thing, the body, isn't it! Just as well you knew or it would have been a worry for sure.

I also had an aura a few hours following my last ablation for flutter and a-fib .It only lasted 30 minutes, I had heard of it happening so I was glad to know that before my surgery as I did not worry about it. My nurse did a neurological assessment for stroke to be safe.

Hi All,

I've never had an ablation but get migraine aura as a pre-AF symptom, but not always. It's as you described, sometimes a small, central blind spot OR what I describe as like the jagged pattern of a thin stream of water running down a window. It lasts 15-30 mins.

I've had AF for over 20 years with occasional migraine aura for about the last 10. I stopped whatever I'm doing and drink heaps of water until i'm off to the bathroom every 20 mins. Seems to work for me.

My heart specialist asks how many I have but is unable to tell me about the connection with AF. Does anybody have any idea?????

Alan L

Being a migraine headache and visual migraine sufferer I was dreading having any migraines after my cryoablation. The first visual one happened on the day of the procedure then I had them on a daily basis for the next two to three weeks then they stopped. I made a note of how many I was having in a day and how long they were lasting, luckily I didn't have any migraine headaches. I still get them from time to time but no different to how I was before my ablation. Mine start out as a zig zaggy dot in the middle of my eye then it grows outward in the shape of a crescent, nearly always growing to the left. I time them from when it starts to when I have normal vision and it usually lasts around 40 minutes.

I can't tell you how reassuring it is to read all of these responses. No one EVER warned me about this and it has been terrifying me. I had my ablation a little less than two weeks ago and very soon after the procedure I started experiencing the visual aura... flashing, bright, zig zagging lines... Since the ablation I have experienced them almost daily. Before the ablation, I would get one only a few times a year.... Will this ever stop?? What can I do to get it to go away. I am regretting this ablation, I feel like I am worse now, in many respects, than I was... I feel like I was not prepared from my cardiologist.

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