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Migraine, Headache, and the Risk of Stroke
in Women: A Prospective Study
Kurth T, Slomke MA, Kase CS, et al.
Posted: November 2005  
Neurology 2005;64(6):1020-1026

Background:  Migraine and headache in general have been associated with subsequent risk of stroke, primarily in retrospective case-control studies. Prospective data evaluating the association between specific headache forms and stroke are sparse.

Methods:  A prospective cohort study was conduced among 39,754 US health professionals age 45 and older with an average follow-up of 9 years. Incident stroke was self-reported and confirmed by medical record review.

Results:  A total of 385 strokes occurred. Compared with nonmigraineurs, participants who reported migraine overall or migraine without aura had no increased risk of any stroke type. Participants who reported migraine with aura had increased adjusted hazards ratios for total stroke and for ischemic stroke but no increased risk for hemorrhagic stroke. Participants with migraine with aura who were less than 55 years old had a greater increase in rish of total and ischemic stroke. Compared with participants without headache, headache in general and nonmigraine headache were not associated with total, ischemic, or hemorrhagic stroke.

Conclusions:  In these prospective data, migraine was not associated with total, ischemic, or hemorrhagic stroke. In subgroup analyses, we found increased risks of total and ischemic stroke for migraineurs with aura. The absolute risk increase was, however, low per year.