Vol 44, No 2 (2010)

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Stroke in patients with migraine

Jacques De Reuck1, Koen Paemeleire1, Georges Van Maele2
DOI: 10.1016/S0028-3843(14)60002-5
Neurol Neurochir Pol 2010;44(2):118-122.


Background and purpose

Migraine with aura (MA) is considered as a risk factor for ischaemic stroke. The present observational retrospective study compares migraine patients admitted for a documented stroke with those presenting focal neurological symptoms and headache without a demonstrable lesion and in which the final diagnosis was a migraine attack with aura.

Material and methods

The study included 14 migraine patients with a stroke and 37 without a stroke. The clinical characteristics, the vascular risk factors and the results of the technical examinations were compared.


Stroke occurred in migraine patients with aura as well as without aura. Classical vascular risk factors were rather rare. Patent foramen ovale (PFO) with or without atrial septum aneurysm appeared to be the main risk factor for stroke in patients with a history of migraine. Infarcts were mainly located in the supratentorial territory of the posterior cerebral circulation. Also some lobar haematomas were observed, but their aetiology remained uncertain. The strokes were generally mildly severe with good outcome. Hyperintense signals in the cerebral white matter and cerebellum, on T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging, were more frequent in the migraine patients with stroke.


The presence of PFO, rather than of MA, appeared to be the main risk factor for stroke patients with migraine. No direct relation between migraine and stroke could be demonstrated.

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Neurologia i Neurochirurgia Polska