A Link Between Migraines and Heart Defects?
Migraines may be reduced or eliminated after a procedure to correct heart defects.
The foramen ovale is a small, natural opening in the wall between the two upper chambers (atria) of the heart. Normally, this opening closes at birth. If the wall does not close properly, it is called a patent foramen ovale (PFO), a defect found in up to 25 percent of adults.
When the foramen ovale remains open, it allows blood to bypass the filtering system of the lungs. Material in this unfiltered blood can travel directly to the brain, triggering migraine headaches.
Doctors have noted that many people who have had a PFO closure (for health reasons other than migraines) report elimination or reduction in the frequency of migraine attacks. “About 60 percent of people who have severe migraines have a PFO,” said Michael Cinquegrani, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin interventional cardiologist.
A PFO can be closed through a minimally invasive procedure performed in a cardiac catheterization lab. A catheter is placed in a vein and moved to the heart. A device is placed in the catheter and moved to the site of the PFO. The device is then released to cover the hole. To learn more about the relationship between PFOs and migraines, the Neurosciences Center and the Heart and Vascular Center at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin are participating in the Premium Clinical Trial to evaluate a new treatment to correct PFOs and reduce the incidence of migraines.
Potential study participants are first seen by a Medical College neurologist and a research nurse. Patients must keep a headache diary for two months and must also be diagnosed with a PFO. Study participants have a 50/50 chance of receiving a PFO closure or a simulated implant procedure. Participants will not know if they have received a PFO closure until the trial is completed.
About 466 patients will be enrolled in the Premium Trial at up to 45 clinical trial sites across the country. For information, call 414-805-3666 or 800-272-3666.
Source: Froedtert Today
Date: October 2007