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Migraine has been associated with an increased risk for ischemic stroke and other cardiovascular (CV) events, including angina, myocardial infarction, and CV death, but the mechanisms that link migraine to CV disease remain uncertain. We hypothesized that aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV), a direct measure of aortic stiffness and an independent predictor of stroke and CV disease, may be increased in young migraineurs with no overt CV disease or major CV risk factors.
We studied 60 subjects with migraine (age 33 ± 8 years, 85% women, blood pressure 119/74 ± 11/9 mm Hg) and 60 age-, sex-, and blood pressure-matched healthy control subjects. In all participants, carotid-femoral PWV and aortic augmentation index were determined by applanation tonometry. Cases and controls were free from overt CV disease, diabetes, and major CV risk factors.
Subjects with migraine had a higher aortic PWV (7.6 ± 1.2 vs 6.4 ± 1.1 m×s(-1), p < 0.001) and aortic augmentation (heart rate-adjusted augmentation index, 0.17 ± 0.13 vs 0.08 ± 0.15, p < 0.001) than matched control subjects. Migraine patients with aura (n = 17) had higher aortic PWV than those without aura (n = 43; 8.2 ± 1.2 vs 7.4 ± 1.1 m×s(-1), p = 0.027). Age, mean arterial pressure as a measure of distending pressure, and migraine (all p < 0.05) independently predicted aortic PWV when a consistent number of CV risk factors was simultaneously controlled for.
Migraine is independently associated with increased aortic stiffness and enhanced pressure wave reflection. This finding, obtained in young subjects without major CV risk factors, may represent one possible mechanism underlying the increased CV risk in migraine patients.
Medicina Interna, Angiologia e Malattie da Arteriosclerosi, Università degli Studi di Perugia, Ospedale "S. Maria della Misericordia," piazzale G. Menghini, 1-06129 Perugia, Italy firstname.lastname@example.org.
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