Heart surgery improves migraine

More evidence that a heart defect is linked to migraine with aura, and that surgery to fix the defect can reduce or cure migraine symptoms, has been presented to the American Stroke Association meeting in Florida.

The study involved 166 patients, either without patent foramen ovale (PFO), with it but being treated medically, or who had surgery for the condition.

A strong correlation was found between PFO and migraine, and results suggested surgical intervention for PFO but not drug treatment could reduce migraine frequency and severity. Out of the 23 patients who suffered migraine and had their PFO closed, 19 had fewer migraines after surgery.

Dr Andy Dowson, a consultant neurologist in Guildford, Surrey, and lead investigator on another study which is testing the migraine and PFO link, said he was not surprised.

'Seven retrospective studies before this reported significant reduction of migraine after surgery for PFO,' he said.

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