Migraines and Cardiovascular Disease: What's the Link?

Increased risks of myocardial infarction, ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, VTE, A-fib, and flutter
Increased risks of myocardial infarction, ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, VTE, A-fib, and flutter

HealthDay News — Migraine is associated with elevated risks of myocardial infarction, stroke (ischemic and hemorrhagic), venous thromboembolism, and atrial fibrillation or flutter, according to a study published online Jan. 31 in The BMJ.

Kasper Adelborg, MD, PhD, from Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues conducted a nationwide, population-based cohort study to examine the risks of myocardial infarction, stroke, peripheral artery disease, venous thromboembolism, atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter, and heart failure among 51,032 patients with migraine and 510,320 matched controls from the general population. 

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The researchers found that for the migraine cohort versus the general population, the cumulative incidences per 1,000 people were 25 versus 17 for myocardial infarction, 45 versus 25 for ischemic stroke, 11 versus 6 for hemorrhagic stroke, 13 versus 11 for peripheral artery disease, 27 versus 18 for venous thromboembolism, 47 versus 34 for atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter, and 19 versus 18 for heart failure. There were positive associations for migraine with myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke, venous thromboembolism, and atrial fibrillation or flutter (adjusted hazard ratios, 1.49, 2.26, 1.94, 1.59, and 1.25, respectively). There was no significant correlation for peripheral artery disease or heart failure. These correlations were stronger during the short term (zero to one year) than long term (up to 19 years) after migraine diagnosis, particularly for stroke outcomes.

"Migraine may be an important risk factor for most cardiovascular diseases," the authors write.

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