Patent foramen ovale, stroke, and cardiovascular disease in migraine

Curr Opin Neurol. 2007 Jun;20(3):310-9. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0b013e328136c22d.


Purpose of review: We will review the literature on the association between migraine with patent foramen ovale, stroke, and coronary heart disease.

Recent findings: The prevalence of patent foramen ovale in patients with migraine with aura is significantly higher than in nonmigraine controls and migraineurs without aura. However, there is currently no evidence to support a causal relationship. Migraine with aura has been consistently associated with increased risk of ischemic stroke in several epidemiologic studies. Migraine with aura is associated with a more unfavourable cardiovascular risk profile and recent data suggest that the association between migraine with aura and stroke may extend to overall cardiovascular disease. Identification of migraine patients at particular risk for stroke or other vascular events is impossible based on current knowledge.

Summary: Migraine with aura and patent foramen ovale have higher coincidences than expected by chance only. It is possible that both conditions are inherited together. Until now there has been no evidence from placebo-controlled randomized trials that closure of patent foramen ovale improves migraine with aura. There is increasing evidence that migraine with aura is not only a risk factor for ischemic stroke but also for myocardial infarction and other ischemic vascular events.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Ischemia / epidemiology
  • Brain Ischemia / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Comorbidity
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Heart Septal Defects, Atrial / epidemiology*
  • Heart Septal Defects, Atrial / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology
  • Migraine with Aura / epidemiology
  • Migraine with Aura / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Stroke / physiopathology