Ultrasonic assessment of carotid intima-media thickness in migraine: a meta-analysis

J Int Med Res. 2019 Jul;47(7):2848-2855. doi: 10.1177/0300060519851354. Epub 2019 Jul 5.


Objective: Migraine is believed to be a risk factor for cerebrovascular diseases, and previous studies have indicated an association between migraine and cerebral atherosclerosis. Carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) is considered to be a biomarker of atherosclerosis pathology. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between carotid IMT and migraine by conducting a meta-analysis.

Methods: We searched Web of Science, PubMed, and the Cochrane Library for eligible studies assessing carotid IMT in patients with migraine and controls. Data were extracted independently by two reviewers and analyzed using Review Manager 5.3 software.

Results: The meta-analysis included seven articles with 555 subjects (279 migraine patients, 276 controls). Carotid IMT was significantly greater in patients with migraine compared with controls. However, there were no significant differences in IMT between patients with migraine with aura (MA) and controls, migraine without aura (MO) and controls, and patients with MA and MO.

Conclusion: Patients with migraine have greater carotid IMT than individuals without migraine, suggesting an association between atherosclerosis and migraine. However, further studies with more samples are needed to confirm this finding.

Keywords: Migraine; atherosclerosis; carotid artery; carotid intima-media thickness; meta-analysis; ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Atherosclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Atherosclerosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Intima-Media Thickness*
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Migraine Disorders / diagnostic imaging
  • Ultrasonics / methods*