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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 18 (2007), Issue 3, Pages 187-192
Clinical Note

Persistent Visual Aura following Catheter Ablation in a Patient with WPW Syndrome

Shinichi Koyama1,2,3 and Mitsuru Kawamura1,4

1Department of Neurology, Showa University School of Medicine, Japan
2Department of Engineering, Chiba University, Japan
3The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Japan
4CREST, JST, Japan

Received 14 August 2007; Accepted 14 August 2007

Copyright © 2007 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We report a patient who has had persistent visual disturbances since she underwent catheter ablation to treat her Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome. We examined her visual symptoms carefully and quantitatively by means of our newly developed method combining image-processing and psychophysics. We first simulated the patient’s visual symptoms using image-processing techniques. Since the simulation indicated that she would be very sensitive to the edges of the visual stimuli, we evaluated her sensitivity to the edges using psychophysics. The results indicated that she was hypersensitive to the clear-cut edges of the visual stimuli. Her visual symptoms were very similar to those of visual aura of migraine, rather than those of photosensitive epilepsy. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), electroenchepalogram (EEG), and visual-evoked potentials (VEP) in the patient were normal. No abnormalities in her fundus, visual field, or electroretinogram were found, either. Transesophageal echocardiography with bubble study indicated that she had a preexisting right-to-left shunt. We hypothesize that visual aura of migraine was triggered and made persistent by the catheter ablation in this patient. Although the relationship between migraine, catheter ablation, and right-to-left shunts is unknown, previous studies on the transcatheter closure of patent foramen ovale suggest a possible link between them. Catheter ablation in patients with migraine and preexisting shunts may lead to exacerbations in migraine symptoms.