The evaluation of atherosclerosis in migraine patients

Pain Pract. 2013 Jan;13(1):41-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1533-2500.2012.00551.x. Epub 2012 Apr 24.


A potential association might exist between atherosclerosis and migraine. Carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) is a marker of generalized atherosclerosis; hence, we aimed to assess CIMT in migraine patients. This study included 30 patients and 60 healthy controls aged between 20 and 40 years. Episodic migraine diagnosis was made according to the criteria of International Headache Society (IHS). Healthy controls who do not suffer any headache problems were selected from among hospital and laboratory staffs. All subjects were evaluated regarding some parameters and features known to be associated with migraine and vascular changes, that is, gender, age, body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking habits, used hormonal contraceptives, and history of disease. The left common carotid arteries of the subjects were examined, and CIMT was measured with real-time gray-scale sonography. Mean values and standard deviations were calculated. All measurements were made in migraine-free periods. Migraine patients and control subjects were well matched for those parameters known to be associated with vascular changes, that is, gender, age, BMI, blood pressure, and cholesterol. CIMT values were higher in patients. The results showed that the mean CCA IMT values were 0.493 ± 0.074 mm and 0.409 ± 0.053 mm in migraine patients and controls, respectively (P < 0.001). There is a relationship between atherosclerosis and inflammation in migraine patients. The risk of cranial inflammatory arteriopathy increases in repeated attacks of migraine. Our study also supports that high number of attacks and attack duration are important in the development of atherosclerosis.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Atherosclerosis / diagnosis
  • Atherosclerosis / etiology*
  • Carotid Intima-Media Thickness*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Migraine Disorders / complications*
  • Outpatients