Study suggests a relationship between migraine headaches in children and a common heart defect

March 31, 2011

Cincinnati, OH, March 31, 2011 -- Roughly 15% of children suffer from migraines, and approximately one-third of these affected children have migraines with aura, a collection of symptoms that can include weakness, blind spots, and even hallucinations. Although the causes of migraines are unclear, a new study soon to be published in The Journal of Pediatrics suggests a connection between migraine headaches in children and a heart defect called patent foramen ovale, which affects 25% of people in the U.S.

Dr. Rachel McCandless and colleagues from the Primary Children's Medical Center and the University of Utah studied children 6-18 years old who were diagnosed with migraines between 2008 and 2009. The 109 children enrolled in the study were treated at the Primary Children's Medical Center, which serves kids from Utah, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Colorado, and parts of Wyoming.

The researchers took two-dimensional echocardiograms of each child's heart, looking for a patent foramen ovale (PFO), a common defect in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart. Although a PFO is not necessarily dangerous, it can allow unfiltered blood to bypass the lungs and circulate throughout the body. As Dr. McCandless explains, "Some adult studies have suggested a link between having a PFO and migraine headaches."

Of the studied children who had migraines with aura, 50% also had a PFO; this is nearly double the PFO rate of the general population. However, only 25% of children who had migraines without aura had a PFO. Dr. McCandless and colleagues hypothesize that if a causal relationship can be established, closure of a PFO with a catheter device may help in the treatment of certain kinds of migraines, specifically migraines with aura. It is her hope that "our study will help guide future research about this difficult problem."
-end-
The study, reported in "Patent Foramen Ovale in Children with Migraine Headaches" by Rachel T. McCandless, MD, Cammon B. Arrington, MD, Douglas C. Nielsen, James F. Bale, Jr., MD, and L. LuAnn Minich, MD, appears in The Journal of Pediatrics, DOI 10.1016/j.jpeds.2011.01.062, published by Elsevier.

Elsevier Health Sciences

Related Migraines Articles from Brightsurf:

TMS shows promise in treating stroke, dementia and migraines
TMS shows promise in treating a broad range of neurological disorders, including stroke, dementia and migraines.

Nightly sleep disturbance linked to daily risk of migraines
The team's findings generally support patients' reports of sleep disturbance as a trigger for migraines.

A new link between migraines, opioid overuse may be key to treating pain
Researchers have discovered that a peptide links together migraine pain and pain induced by opioid overuse.

Migraines linked to higher risk of dementia
Dementia is the most common neurological disease in older adults, whereas headaches, including migraines, are the most common neurological disorder across all ages.

1-2 caffeinated drinks not linked with higher risk of migraines; 3+ may trigger them
In a study published in the American Journal of Medicine, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Harvard T.H.

New antibody treatment provides little relief for high-frequency migraine patients
An early assessment reveals that the newly approved antibody treatment Erenumbab does not seem effective among patients who suffer from high-frequency migraines.

Migraine increases the risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth
Pregnant women with migraine have an increased risk of miscarriage, caesarean sections and giving birth to a child with low birth weight.

Migraines may increase risk of pregnancy complications
In a study of women in Denmark with and without migraines who became pregnant, migraines were associated with an increased risk of pregnancy-associated hypertension disorders in the mother.

One in every 12 Canadian with migraines has attempted suicide
A new study by the University of Toronto, published online this week in the journal Archives of Suicide Research, found that adults with migraine who had been sexually abused during childhood were three times more likely to have attempted suicide.

Discovery of novel mechanisms that cause migraines
Researchers at CNRS, Université Côte d'Azur and Inserm have demonstrated a new mechanism related to the onset of migraine.

Read More: Migraines News and Migraines Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.