Risk of Stroke May Double in Women With Migraine History

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Stroke preventive measures should be considered in women with a history of migraine headache.
Stroke preventive measures should be considered in women with a history of migraine headache.

Women with a history of migraine headache face a more than 2-fold increased risk of stroke, according to data presented at the 2016 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in New Orleans.

In order to better examine the long-term risk of cardiovascular (CV) events in women with migraine headache, Cecil A. Rambarat, MD, of the University of Florida in Gainesville, and colleagues evaluated a cohort from the Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE) Study.

A total of 917 women were included in the study, of which 224 (24.4%) reported a history of migraine headache. Hazard ratios were determined for time to first adverse CV event, including CV death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, heart failure hospitalization, and non-fatal stroke in women both with and without a history of migraine headache. Hazard ratios were also determined for all-case death, angina hospitalization, death or myocardial infarction, and CV death or myocardial infarction. Median follow-up was 6 years.

After adjusting for confounding factors, including age, race, body mass index, diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, smoking, familiar history of coronary artery disease (CAD), WISE CAD severity score, and aspirin use, analysis revealed that women with a history of migraine headache had an increased risk of CV events (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.83; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.22-2.75; =.004). This risk was mainly driven by a significant increase in stroke risk (HR: 2.33; 95% CI, 1.16-4.68; =.018).

While no causal link was established, the data suggest that CV preventive measures should be considered in women with a history of migraine headache.

Reference

Rambarat CA, Elgendy IY, Johnson D, et al. Abstract 319. Migraine headaches and cardiovascular outcomes in women with symptoms and signs of ischemic heart disease: results of an extended follow-up from the Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation. Presented at: the 2016 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions. November 12-16, 2016; New Orleans, LA.

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