Familial hemiplegic migraine (FHM) is a rare inherited autosomal dominant disorder. Migraine aura may last up to several weeks and then resolve without sequel. We report a 21-year-old male with FHM since the age of 3 years. Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI), perfusion-MR imaging (P-MRI) and [99mTc] hexamethyl-propyleneamine-oxime-single photon emission tomography (HMPAO-SPECT) were performed on day 2, when he was somnolent with right-sided hemiplegia, on day 9 when a mild hemiparesis was still present and on day 24 after recovery. The right central region showed normal findings in DWI, whereas P-MRI and SPECT revealed hyperperfusion on day 2, less marked on day 9, and normal findings on day 24. In conclusion, this case report indicates for the first time, by means of SPECT, P-MRI and DWI studies, that even extremely long-lasting migraine aura is not associated with cerebral ischaemia. Therefore, it supports the revised International Headache Society criteria where the term ‘persistent’ aura is proposed.