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Repairing Heart Defect May Relieve Migraines

Patent foramen ovale closure reduces migraine frequency and severity

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Patent foramen ovale closure can greatly reduce the frequency and severity of migraines, according to study findings published in the February issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Interventions.

Carlo Vigna, M.D., from Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza Hospital IRCCS in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, and colleagues examined the frequency and severity of migraine recurrence in 82 patients with moderate to severe migraine, patent foramen ovale, large right-to-left shunt, and subclinical brain MRI lesions, where 53 underwent patent foramen ovale closure.

Over six months, the researchers found that the closure group had a significantly greater decrease in the mean number of attacks than the control group (from 32 to 7 versus 36 to 30). Only the closure group also had a significant reduction in the mean number of disabling attacks (from 20 to 2, versus 15 to 12 in the control group). Significantly more patients in the closure group had disappearance of their migraines (34, versus 7 percent in controls), a more than 50 percent reduction in migraines (87 versus 21 percent), disappearance of disabling attacks (53 versus 7 percent) and a more than 50 percent reduction in disabling attacks (89 versus 17 percent), the authors report.

"In migraineurs with a large patent foramen ovale and subclinical brain MRI lesions, a significant reduction in frequency and severity of migraine recurrence can be obtained by patent foramen ovale closure when compared with frequency and severity in controls," Vigna and colleagues conclude.

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