Patent foramen ovale: does it play a role in the pathophysiology of migraine headache?

Cardiol Clin. 2005 Feb;23(1):91-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ccl.2004.10.004.


Migraine headaches have a high prevalence rate in the general population and account for significant morbidity, lost productivity, health care visits, and dollars spent. Increasingly, emerging data show a link between migraine headache, especially migraine headaches with aura, and patent foramen ovale (PFO). Closure of PFO as a cure for migraine headache is a tantalizing idea; this article examines the data supporting that possibility including studies showing improvement in migraine headache after PFO closure and case reports in which migraine headaches worsened after closure of an atrial septal defect.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Heart Septal Defects, Atrial / complications
  • Heart Septal Defects, Atrial / physiopathology*
  • Heart Septal Defects, Atrial / therapy
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders / etiology
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Prostheses and Implants