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Migraine Plus Aura Increases Cardiovascular Risk in Women

Women who have migraines with visual aura at greater risk for myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke

TUESDAY, July 18 (HealthDay News) -- Middle-aged women who experience migraine with visual aura have a higher risk of cardiovascular events, including myocardial infarction and ischemic strokes, than those without migraines, researchers report in the July 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Tobias Kurth, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues analyzed data on 27,840 U.S. women aged 45 and older; 18.4 percent had experienced migraines within the past year and 39.7 percent of these reported aura symptoms with migraine.

During the next 10 years, 580 women had a major cardiovascular disease event. Compared to other women, those with migraine plus aura were twice as likely to experience a major cardiovascular event (hazard ratio, 2.15), ischemic stroke (1.91), myocardial infarction (2.08), undergo coronary revascularization (1.74) and to die of an ischemic cardiovascular disease event (2.33).

"In this large, prospective cohort of women, active migraine with aura was associated with increased risk of major cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, and death due to ischemic cardiovascular disease," the authors write.

In an editorial, Richard B. Lipton, M.D., of the Montefiore Headache Center in the Bronx, New York, and a colleague point out that "for patients with migraine with aura, clinicians should have heightened vigilance for modifiable cardiovascular risk factors."

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