PFO, or patent foramen ovale, has been the focus of a surgery that closes a common "hole in the heart". The question is – could closing this hole lead to relief from migraine?
Dr. Rachel McCandless led the team from the Primary Children’s Medical Center and the University of Utah to study the question. 109 children between the ages of 6 and 18 enrolled in the study. The researchers took two-dimensional echocardiograms of each child’s heart, looking for the PFO defect.
Of the children who had migraine without aura, about 25% of children had PFO – that reflects the % of the general population.
However, for children with migraine with aura, the % jumped to 50% – that’s double the general population. That also reflects the original numbers given early on in PFO-Migraine research.
Most likely, as with adult migraine patients, we need to learn more about the type of PFO that children have, and we need to correlate this with other health factors, before we can really know who to start treating. But the research is not dead – there seems to be a connection here. We just need more information to understand what it is.
For more on recent research into PFO and migraine, don’t miss Should we give up on the PFO Closure Solution? and from ScienceDaily Study Suggests a Relationship Between Migraine Headaches in Children and a Common Heart Defect.