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Latent Dysautonomic Pupillary Lateralization In Cluster Headache. A Pupillometric Study

M. Fanciullacci, U. Pietrini, G. Gatto, M. Boccuni, F. Sicuteri
Published 1982 · Medicine

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Forty-five patients with cluster headache in the asymptomatic phase were studied by electronic pupillography, testing autonomic function of both pupils pharmacologically. Topical sympathetically-acting mydriatics, tyramine and cocaine and the cholinoceptor blocker, homatropine, induced defective mydriatic responses on the symptomatic side, indicating latent impairment of sympathetic function. The abnormality was found in interattack intervals of the cluster period or during intercluster phases. The tyramine test can be proposed for objective diagnosis of cluster headache. We postulate that cluster attacks are triggered and lateralized by a permanent latent unilateral sympathetic dysfunction. Lithium reduced the mydriatic response to tyramine of the pupil contralateral to the pain, thus restoring the equilibrium between both pupils; this therapy may correct the asymmetric sympathetic function by attenuating the activity in the asymptomatic side.
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