Diagnosing aura

When are migraine-associated visual symptoms an aura, and when are they not? Most of the time it doesn’t matter, but it becomes of vital importance when assessing a woman’s suitability for oestrogen-containing contraception. Fortunately, the JFPRHC has just published an article with guidance on answering this: the VARS (Visual Aura Rating Scale) score. Characteristics of the abnormal visual symptoms are scored thusly:

  • Duration 5 – 60 mins:                                       3
  • Develops gradually over 5 0r more mins:    2
  • Blank spot in vision (scotoma):                     2
  • Zigzag line (fortification spectra):                2
  • Homonymous hemianopia:                           1

5 or more points diagnoses an aura.

(J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care 2016; 42: 280 – 6)


About Dr Sarah

I'm a GP with a husband and two young children.
This entry was posted in Contraception, Credits 2016. Bookmark the permalink.

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