Migraine in children linked to common heart problems

4th April 2011

A severe form of migraine in children could be directly linked to a common heart defect called patent foramen ovale (PFO), a new study has said.

Research conducted at the University of Utah discovered that around 50 per cent of the children tested who suffered from migraine with aura - which can cause blind spots, weakness and hallucinations - suffered from PFO. That is approximately twice the amount in the general population.

In contrast, only 27 per cent of children who suffered from migraine without aura had the condition.

A total of 109 children, aged between six and 18, who were being treated for migraines at the Primary Children's Centre in Salt Lake City were studied.

Lead researcher Dr Rachel McCandless said: "These data suggest that PFO may contribute to the pathogenesis of migraine with aura in children and have implications for clinical decision making."

PFO is a common condition affecting around a quarter of people in America. It is a condition where a valve regulating blood flow in the heart does not form properly.

Migraine affects around five to ten per cent of all school age children. It can also affect adults, but it is much less common in those over the age of 50.

Posted by Philip Briggs

1 McCandless, Dr Rachel. T. "Patent Foramen Ovale in Children with Migraine Headaches." Journal of Paediatrics. April 1st 2011.

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