Migraine with Aura Linked To Increased Risk of Stroke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Souvik Sen, MD, MS, MPH, FAHA Professor and Chair, Neurology Department, South Carolina Smart State Endowed Stroke Chair University of South Carolina School of Medicine

Dr. Souvik Sen

Souvik Sen, MD, MS, MPH, FAHA
Professor and Chair,  Neurology Department,
South Carolina Smart State Endowed Stroke Chair
University of South Carolina School of Medicine 

Medical Research: What was the catalyst for conducting this study examining the association between migraine with aura and ischemic stroke subtypes?

Dr. Souvik Sen: South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia are located in the “buckle” of the stroke belt, with one of the highest stroke related death rates in the country. An unfortunate trend is that younger patients are having strokes leading to death and disability. As a part of the workup for young stroke we are interested in migraine with aura and the type of stroke associated with this condition.

Medical Research: What did you conclude as a result of the findings and how did they compare with your expectations at the beginning of the study?

Artist's depiction of one type of migraine aura- zig-zag lines. Wikipedia image

Artist’s depiction of one type of migraine aura- zig-zag lines. Wikipedia image

Dr. Souvik Sen:  Our results indicate migraine with aura is significantly associated with increased risk of stroke both in men and women, twice as likely when compared with migraine without aura. After adjusting for the stroke risk factors, the risk of stroke in migraine with aura remained significant and twice as likely when compared to migraine without aura. These results are in agreement with the previous studies which reported increased risk of stroke in migraine with aura. Furthermore we found significant increased risk of cardio embolic stroke in migraine with aura, when compared to other subtypes of ischemic stroke.

Medical Research: What is the take-home message you would like to leave with our neurologist readers?

Dr. Souvik Sen: As our results point to the significant association of stroke with migraine, it emphasizes the  importance of specific diagnostic testing to assess for cardio-embolism and stroke prevention in migraine with aura patients.

Medical Research: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?​

Dr. Souvik Sen: Both men and women with a history of migraine with aura should talk to their primary care physicians regarding their risk for stroke and specifically cardio embolic stroke. These individuals should ask their primary care physicians about access to specific diagnostic testing such as echocardiogram with bubble studies or holter monitoring for cardio-embolism and additional stroke risk factors. Additionally, these individuals may benefit from the initiation of an 81mg Aspirin, especially those who may have additional stroke risk factors. Encouraging individuals with a history of migraine with aura to talk with their primary care physicians about specific cardio embolic stroke risk factors may aid in the effort of preventing stroke in young people.

Citation:

Abstract Presented at the 2016 International Stroke Conference

Ischemic Stroke Subtypes and Relationship with Migraine in the Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities Study

X.M. Androulakis, USC Sch of Med, Columbia, SC; Wayne Rosamond, Eunsil Yim, Univ of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC; Lauren C Dennis, USC Sch of Med, Columbia, SC; Rebecca Gottesman, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Ctr, Baltimore, MD; Souvik Sen, USC Sch of Med, Columbia, SC

Souvik Sen, MD, MS, MPH, FAHA (2016). Migraine with Aura Linked To Increased Risk of Stroke 

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