Heart Defect in Children Related to Migraine With Aura

Increased prevalence of patent foramen ovale in children who have migraines with aura

THURSDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of patent foramen ovale (PFO), a common defect in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart, is significantly greater in children who have migraines with aura, according to a study published online March 31 in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Rachel T. McCandless, M.D., from the Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City, and colleagues evaluated the prevalence of PFO in 109 children aged 6 to 18 years with migraine headaches, including 38 with aura and 71 without. Right-to-left shunting with color-flow Doppler scanning, saline solution contrast transthoracic echocardiography, and contrast transcranial Doppler scanning were measured.

The researchers found that the PFO prevalence in the study population was 35 percent, similar to that seen in the general population (25 percent). Prevalence of PFO was significantly greater in children who had migraines with aura (50 percent), compared to the general population. Presence or absence of aura did not affect the atrial shunt size.

"This study demonstrates a significantly higher PFO prevalence in children with migraine with aura compared with the general population and thus provides a basis for further research on the role of PFO in pediatric migraines," the authors write.

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