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Ischemic stroke and active migraine.

Neurology 2001 November 28
OBJECTIVE: To determine the characteristics of acute ischemic stroke (IS) in patients with active migraine in a prospective stroke registry.

METHODS: The authors studied the characteristics of patients admitted to a population-based primary-care center with IS and active migraine. The diagnosis of previous migraine was made based on replies to International Headache Society-based questions. Patients with migraine were divided into two age groups, one below 45 years of age and one 45 years or older, and compared by univariate and multivariate analysis with age-matched control subjects with IS, but without migraine.

RESULTS: Of the 3,502 patients with acute IS, 130 (3.7%) had active migraine; 66 of these were younger than 45 years and 64 were 45 years or older (15.8% and 2.1% of the total for the corresponding age group). The proportion of women was significantly higher in both groups of patients with migraine (74% and 63% in the younger and older groups) than in control subjects. In young migraineurs, the posterior circulation involvement and the presence of patent foramen ovale were characteristic. In the younger migraine group, nine patients developed IS during a typical attack of migraine with aura, and 15 during migraine attack without aura in the absence of any other determined cause. In the older group, surprisingly, absence of vascular risk factors (previous hypertension, ischemic heart disease, and cigarette smoking) was characteristic.

CONCLUSIONS: Migraine is frequent in young patients with IS and infrequent in older patients with IS. Patients with IS and migraine are mainly women with stroke features that are age dependent.

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