Migraine Linked To Heart Defect

Published: Jan 17, 2005

Doctors are examining whether migraines are linked to a common heart defect. One in four people have a valve-like hole, which can be closed using keyhole surgery, but it is twice as common among a type of migraine sufferer. The study by Kings College Hospital in London and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital will look at whether correcting the defect cures migraines. Some 6m people in the UK have migraines, costing the economy £750m a year in lost production. The heart defect, called a patent foramen ovale (PFO), often produces no symptoms. In the womb, the opening is necessary to allow efficient circulation of blood and oxygen before the lungs start functioning. After birth, it should fuse to produce a wall, or septum, separating the two atrial chambers. Sometimes, however, this does not occur correctly.

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