October 21, 2020

Nasal Pain as an Aura: Amygdala Origin?

Abstract, originally published in Seizure

Purpose: Nasal pain, as an epileptic aura, has been poorly recognized. This study aims to demonstrate clinical features of patients with epilepsy who have nasal pain as an aura.

Methods: We retrospectively investigated consecutive patients who visited the epilepsy clinic of tertiary hospital from April 2000 to September 2019. All included patients underwent epilepsy-dedicated, high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations. All MRI studies were analyzed by visual inspection.

Results: Seven patients who presented nasal pain as an aura, were identified. Four patients reported nasal pain as the first aura. Four patients had right amygdala enlargement (isolated amygdala enlargement in three patients; amygdala enlargement in addition to hippocampal sclerosis in one patient), and one patient with compression of an internal carotid-posterior communicating artery aneurysm to right amygdala on brain MRI. Interictal epileptiform or ictal discharges on EEG were found in the right temporal region in five patients. In all four patients with amygdala enlargement, amygdala enlargement was ipsilateral to EEG anomalies. In all patients, nasal pain was accompanied by ictal semiological features, such as autonomic, olfactory, abdominal, or psychic auras, and focal impaired awareness seizures, which are typically associated with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that nasal pain can occur as an epileptic aura in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy with probable involvement of the amygdala.