Monday, October 20, 2014
Tuesday, December 09, 2008 jovaun40, Community Member, asks

Q: Hemiplegic migraines and stroke.

I have heard that people with Hemiplegic Migraines are more likely to have strokes and  get holes in there hearts. Should my dotor have told me this?

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Answers (1)
Teri Robert, Health Guide
12/13/08 2:12pm



What you've heard is slightly off. Migraine with aura, and that includes hemiplegic Migraine since it's a form of Migraine with aura, does increase stroke risk. BUT, it's still not a big enough risk for anyone to panic over. What it does mean is that all of us with Migraine with aura need to work with our doctors on lifestyle changes to reduce modifiable risks of stroke. You can read more about this in Migraine and Stroke Risk.


As for the hole in the heart, it's called a patent foramen ovale (PFO), and there has been a theory that it might be more prevalent in Migraineurs and that it might trigger Migraines in some. However, that theory is not standing up, and it is not recommended that Migraineurs be tested for PFO.


Ideally, yes, your doctor would have told you about the increased stroke risk and talked with you about reducing your stroke risk through proper nutrition and exercies, not using oral contraceptives, not smoking, etc. Unfortunately, many (if not most) doctors don't have or take the time for patient eductation. I hope you'll stick around and read the information here. One of our goals is educating ourselves about Migaine disease and treatments for Migraine.


Hope this helps,


kennasmom, Community Member
8/24/11 11:39am

I find this VERY interesting.  My daughter suffers from hemi-plegic migraines.  Despite the intense intervention the headaches although improved still persist.  A friend of our suggested we contact a cardiologist and in light of her dramatic headache history she IS being tested for the PFO - IF she has it, we WILL proceed with the closure.  I fully understand the PFO closure is NOT a cure for the migraine BUT if there is a chance that this highly sucessful closure procedure MIGHT cure her PLUS close a hole in her heart . . . the surgery is a no brainer!

Teri Robert, Health Guide
8/24/11 12:08pm



I fully understand what you're saying. Things may have changed, but at one point, PFO closure wasn't available for the treatment of Migraine uless you got into one of the clinical trials because the device isn't FDA approved for the treatment of Migraine.


Would you like more information about PFO? There's a fairly new nonprofit organization that has some great information, the PFO Research Foundation. You can find a page on their site about PFO and Migraine at The President and CEO of the foundation had PFO closure for her Migraines. You might want to try to reach her and discuss her experience too.


Hope this helps and that you'll keep us posted,


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By jovaun40, Community Member— Last Modified: 04/02/13, First Published: 12/09/08