From migraine to stroke

Zaza Katsarava, Kasja Rabe, Hans-Christoph Diener
Internal and Emergency Medicine 2008, 3: S9-16
An association between migraine and ischemic stroke has been observed for many years but the exact mechanisms by which migraine can lead to stroke are currently still under investigation. Migraine seems to affect neurovascular factors and substances that increase the risk of stroke during and in between migraine attacks. Ischemic stroke can occur as a complication of an attack of migraine with aura. Epidemiological studies suggest that vascular risk factors are increased in migraineurs, thus increasing the incidence of stroke. Another important issue is a patent foramen ovale (PFO), which is a well-known risk factor for stroke and which, on the other hand, seems to be more frequent in migraineurs than in people without. The purpose of this review is to summarize the current literature linking the two neurological diseases: migraine and stroke.

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