In a recent report published in Cerebrovascular Diseases, researchers sought to uncover if migraine is associated with fetal-type posterior cerebral artery (PCA) in patients with ischemic stroke. According to lead author Yi Zhang and the contributing researchers, “migraine was associated with fetal-type PCA in patients with ischemic stroke,” a finding that “supported the hypothesis that vascular mechanisms get involved in the migraine-stroke association.”

The study included a total of 85 patients with migraine who experienced acute ischemic stroke. Researchers interviewed participants for their history of migraine headaches, and variants of fetal-type PCA were assessed with MRA, CTA, or DSA. The investigators compared fetal-type PCA status and other clinical measures in patients with or without migraine.

According to the article, the group of patients who experienced acute ischemic stroke and migraines had a higher proportion of female gender (51.8% vs. 31.0%; p <0.001), hypertension (72.9% vs. 57.7%; p = 0.007), and fetal-type PCA (36.5% vs. 20.1%; p = 0.001), though a lower proportion of current smoking status (25.9% vs. 38.3%; p = 0.025), than the group without migraines. Additionally, authors reported that “National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score (3 vs. 2, p = 0.016) was also higher in migraineurs than in non-migraineurs,” and that “fetal-type PCA status was independently associated with migraine (odds ratio [OR] = 2.06; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.25-3.38; p = 0.005).” The investigators also associated female gender (OR = 2.03; 95% CI, 1.13-3.62; p = 0.017), hypertension (OR = 1.97; 95% CI, 1.17-3.34; p = 0.011), and NIHSS score (OR = 1.08; 95% CI, 1.01-1.16; p = 0.018) with migraines.

In closing, the authors suggested that “both animal and human experiments indicated that migraine attacks related to cortical depolarization reduced the brain tolerance to ischemia and facilitated stroke.” They also proposed that “further studies are warranted to unfold the pathophysiology between fetal-type PCA and migraine.”

Reference: Zhang, Y, Huang, X, Cheng, H, et al. The Association between Migraine and Fetal-Type Posterior Cerebral Artery in Patients with Ischemic Stroke. Cerebrovascular Diseases. 2022 May 13;1-7.doi: 10.1159/000524616.