Migraine and the risks from angiography

Arch Neurol. 1988 Aug;45(8):911-2. doi: 10.1001/archneur.1988.00520320109024.


There is some suggestion in the literature that patients with migraine may be at an increased risk for developing complications as a result of cerebral angiography. To assess this risk, we reviewed the charts of 142 patients with migraine. A total of 149 angiograms were performed for acute headache (55), new focal symptoms (40), exertional (including coital) headaches (nine), hemiplegic migraine (three), ophthalmoplegic migraine (five), vertebrobasilar migraine (six), migraine accompaniments (three), and other causes (14). Transient events were seen in six patients and these were transient amnesia (one), hemisensory changes (two), hemiparesis (one), global confusion (one), and angina (one). One patient with a history of severe ischemic heart disease developed a myocardial infarction two hours after angiography. Focal cerebral events occurred in 2.6% of cases. This compares with a rate of complications of 2.8% caused by angiography in a prospective study of 1002 patients from our center. According to our findings, it appears that a history of migraine does not increase the risk of complications caused by angiography. Angiography during episodes of acute headaches would also appear to be a safe procedure. Transient focal neurologic symptoms, however, are not infrequent, especially in cases of classic migraine.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amnesia / etiology
  • Angina Pectoris / etiology
  • Cerebral Angiography / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Confusion / etiology
  • Contrast Media
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intra-Arterial
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / diagnostic imaging*
  • Myocardial Infarction / etiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensation


  • Contrast Media