Current views of the risk of stroke for migraine with and migraine without aura

Tobias Kurth, Hans-Christoph Diener
Current Pain and Headache Reports 2006, 10 (3): 214-20
The association between migraine and stroke is complex and is a continued focus of attention. Several observational studies have identified migraine as an independent risk factor for ischemic stroke. However, a distinction should be made between migraine with and migraine without aura. The migraine-stroke association is mostly apparent for young women with migraine with aura. The association between migraine with aura and stroke is weaker in older age groups, which may be due to the fact that traditional cardiovascular risk factors are more prominent with increasing age. Most studies have not found an association between migraine without aura and ischemic stroke. Although there are several hypotheses about the biologic link between migraine with aura and ischemic stroke, the precise mechanisms remain unclear. However, because the absolute risk of stroke is low in patients with migraine with aura, and migraine without aura is likely not associated with ischemic stroke, most migraine patients will not experience a stroke event.

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