Study Suggests a Relationship between Migraine Headaches in Children and a Common Heart Defect
Cincinnati, OH, 31 March, 2011 -- 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 Pediatrics suggests a connection between migraine headaches in children and a heart defect called patent foramen ovale, which affects 25% of people in the U.S.
Dr. Rachel McCandless and colleagues from the Primary Children’s Medical Center and the University of Utah studied children 6-18 years old who were diagnosed with migraines between 2008 and 2009. The 109 children enrolled in the study were treated at the Primary Children’s Medical Center, which serves kids from Utah, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Colorado, and parts of Wyoming.
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.”
Of the studied children who had migraines with aura, 50% also had a PFO; this is nearly double the PFO rate of the general population. However, only 25% of children who had migraines without aura had a PFO. Dr. McCandless and colleagues hypothesize that if a causal relationship can be established, closure of a PFO with a catheter device may help in the treatment of certain kinds of migraines, specifically migraines with aura. It is her hope that “our study will help guide future research about this difficult problem.”
The study, reported in “Patent Foramen Ovale in Children with Migraine Headaches” by Rachel T. McCandless, MD, Cammon B. Arrington, MD, Douglas C. Nielsen, James F. Bale, Jr., MD, and L. LuAnn Minich, MD, appears in The Journal of Pediatrics, DOI 10.1016/j.jpeds.2011.01.062, published by Elsevier.
# # #
About The Journal of Pediatrics
The Journal of Pediatrics is a primary reference for the science and practice of pediatrics and its subspecialties. This authoritative resource of original, peer-reviewed articles oriented toward clinical practice helps physicians stay abreast of the latest and ever-changing developments in pediatric medicine. The Journal of Pediatrics is ranked 4th out of 94 pediatric medical journals (2010 Journal Citation Reports, published by Thomson Reuters). URL: www.jpeds.com
Elsevier is a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and close to 20,000 book titles, including major reference works from Mosby and Saunders. Elsevier’s online solutions include ScienceDirect, Scopus, Reaxys, ClinicalKey and Mosby’s Suite, which enhance the productivity of science and health professionals, and the SciVal suite and MEDai’s Pinpoint Review, which help research and health care institutions deliver better outcomes more cost-effectively.
A global business headquartered in Amsterdam, Elsevier employs 7,000 people worldwide. The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group plc, a world leading provider of professional information solutions. The group employs more than 30,000 people, including more than 15,000 in North America. Reed Elsevier Group plc is owned equally by two parent companies, Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. Their shares are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RUK and ENL.