Migraine and functional outcome from ischemic cerebral events in women

Circulation. 2010 Dec 14;122(24):2551-7. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.110.977306. Epub 2010 Nov 29.


Background: Studies have linked migraine with aura to an increased risk of ischemic stroke, particularly among women. Data on the relationship of migraine and functional outcome from ischemic cerebral events are sparse.

Methods and results: This was a prospective cohort study among 27 852 women enrolled in the Women's Health Study for whom we had information on migraine and measured cholesterol values and who had no prior stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) at baseline. Migraine was classified into no history of migraine, active migraine with aura, active migraine without aura, and past history of migraine. Possible functional outcomes were no stroke or TIA, TIA, and stroke with modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score 0 to 1, mRS 2 to 3, and mRS 4 to 6. We used multinomial logistic regression to evaluate the relationship of migraine with functional outcomes after ischemic stroke. During a mean of 13.5 years of follow-up, 398 TIAs and 345 ischemic strokes occurred. Compared with women without history of migraine and who did not experience a TIA or stroke, women who reported migraine with aura had adjusted relative risk (95% confidence interval) of 1.56 (1.03 to 2.36) for TIA, 2.33 (1.37 to 3.97) for stroke with mRS 0 to 1, 0.82 (0.30 to 2.24) for mRS 2 to 3, and 1.18 (0.28 to 4.97) for mRS 4 to 6. The risk of any outcome was not significantly elevated for women who experienced migraine without aura or who had a past history of migraine.

Conclusions: Results of this large prospective cohort suggest that women with migraine with aura are at increased risk of experiencing TIA or ischemic stroke with good functional outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Ischemia / blood
  • Brain Ischemia / epidemiology*
  • Brain Ischemia / physiopathology*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / blood
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cholesterol