Migraine headaches following catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation

  • Amit Noheria
  • John Roshan
  • Suraj Kapa
  • Komandoor Srivathsan
  • Douglas L. Packer
  • Samuel J. AsirvathamEmail author



Atrial septal defects (ASD), including patent foramen ovale, have been linked to an increased prevalence of migraine headaches in the general population. A similar association with migraine is speculated for iatrogenic ASD due to atrial septal puncture during catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF).


A total of 2,069 patients who underwent catheter ablation for AF at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN between January 2001 and December 2008 were scheduled for follow-up at least at 3 months and annually thereafter. Data were collected from the questionnaires patients answered at follow-up inquiring about presence and characteristics of any headaches following the procedure and further chart review. Definite migraine was diagnosed based on clinical features per the International Classification of Headache Disorder-II definition.


Twenty-two patients (1.1%) had a new-onset definite migraine, 12 (0.6%) had a new-onset probable migraine, ten (0.5%) with a previous history of migraine had worsened headaches, and four (0.2%) had headache due to an alternate identifiable cause; a total of 48 patients (2.3%) reported post-procedural headaches. Nineteen of 22 patients (86%) with definite migraine had complete resolution of symptoms at 1- to 2-year follow-up.


New-onset migraine is an uncommon and usually temporary side effect of catheter ablation for AF. The mechanism for post-procedure headache remains unclear.


Migraine Atrial fibrillation Catheter ablation Patent foramen ovale Atrial septal defect Follow-up 



Atrial fibrillation


Atrial septal defect


Patent foramen ovale


Transesophageal echocardiography


Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amit Noheria
    • 1
  • John Roshan
    • 2
  • Suraj Kapa
    • 3
  • Komandoor Srivathsan
    • 4
  • Douglas L. Packer
    • 1
  • Samuel J. Asirvatham
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Cardiovascular DiseasesMayo Clinic College of MedicineRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of CardiologyChristian Medical CollegeVelloreIndia
  3. 3.Division of CardiologyUniversity of Pennsylvania Medical CenterPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Division of Cardiovascular DiseasesMayo ClinicPhoenixUSA

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