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Heart Health

31 March 2011

Migraines in children may be a heart risk

A study suggests a connection between migraine headaches in children and a heart defect called patent foramen ovale.

Roughly 15% of children suffer from migraines, and approximately one-third of these affected children have migraines with aura, a collection of symptoms that can include weakness, blind spots, and even hallucinations.

Although the causes of migraines are unclear, a new study soon to be published in The Journal of Paediatrics suggests a connection between migraine headaches in children and a heart defect called patent foramen ovale.

The researchers took two-dimensional echocardiograms of each child's heart, looking for a patent foramen ovale (PFO), a common defect in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart.

Although a PFO is not necessarily dangerous, it can allow unfiltered blood to bypass the lungs and circulate throughout the body. As Dr McCandless explains, "Some adult studies have suggested a link between having a PFO and migraine headaches."

 

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