Neurological Sciences

, Volume 28, Supplement 2, pp S118–S123

The patent foramen ovale–migraine question


DOI: 10.1007/s10072-007-0763-7

Cite this article as:
Tepper, S.J., Sheftell, F.D. & Bigal, M.E. Neurol Sci (2007) 28(Suppl 2): S118. doi:10.1007/s10072-007-0763-7


A strong association between migraine with aura and patent foramen ovale (PFO) with shunting has been suggested. Similarly, an association of migraine with aura and Osler-Weber-Rendu disease, probably also due to shunting though pulmonary arteriovenous malformations has been proposed. PFOs are also comorbid with cryptogenic strokes, refractory hypoxaemia in right ventricular infarction or severe lung disease, orthostatic oxygen desaturation and decompression illness in scuba divers.

Multiple open-label, retrospective and case-controlled studies of PFO closure report improvement of migraine with aura. MIST, the only prospective sham-controlled study of PFO closure for migraine with aura, did not reach its primary endpoint for migraine resolution, although it clearly demonstrated an association between migraine with aura and the severity of the PFO shunt. One reported secondary endpoint showed a significant 42% reduction of migraine days, suggesting the need for further randomised, sham-controlled PFO closure studies.

Key words

Patent foramen ovale Migraine Stroke Atrial septal defect 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. J. Tepper
    • 1
    • 2
  • F. D. Sheftell
    • 1
    • 3
  • M. E. Bigal
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.The New England Center for HeadacheStamfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyYale University School of MedicineUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryNew York Medical CollegeValhallaUSA
  4. 4.Department of NeurologyAlbert Einstein School of MedicineBronxUSA
  5. 5.The New England Research InstituteStamfordUSA

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