September 17, 2008

Migraine Linked to Blood Clots in Veins

People with migraines may also be more likely to develop blood clots in their veins, said researchers at the Innsbruck Medical University in Austria.

Venous thrombosis or thromboembolism involves blood clots that form in a vein, which can limit blood flow and cause swelling and pain. The clots can dislodge and travel to the heart and the lungs, which can be fatal.

Study author Dr. Stefan Kiechl said researchers do not know why migraine and venous thrombosis are linked.

For the study, 574 people in Italy age 55 and older were interviewed to determine whether they had a history of migraine and their medical records were reviewed for cases of venous thrombosis. The arteries in their necks and thighs were scanned with ultrasounds to check for atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, found that of the participants, 111 people had migraine and 21 people with migraine also had one or more instances of venous thrombosis, or 19 percent. In comparison, 35 people without migraine had the condition, or 8 percent.

The study also found that people with migraine are not more likely to have hardening or narrowing of the arteries -- contrary to a current theory.