Intended for healthcare professionals


Migraine and risk of cardiovascular disease

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 31 January 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k275
  1. Tobias Kurth, professor1,
  2. Jessica L Rohmann, research fellow1 2,
  3. Robert E Shapiro, professor3
  1. 1Institute of Public Health, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 10117 Berlin, Germany
  2. 2Center for Stroke Research, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 10117 Berlin, Germany
  3. 3Department of Neurological Sciences, Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA
  1. Correspondence to: T Kurth tobias.kurth{at}

Action to reduce risk is long overdue

Migraine is a very common neurovascular disorder that affects about 15% of the general population,1 mainly women, and was the second leading cause of global years lived with disability in 2016.2 A link between migraine and ischaemic stroke has been well established over the past decades,3 particularly for people who have migraine with aura. Increasing evidence shows that migraine is also a strong risk marker for non-stroke vascular events, particularly myocardial infarction,4 and migraine is now considered a risk marker in the QRISK3 prediction score for cardiovascular disease.5

In The BMJ this week (doi:10.1136/bmj.k96), Adelborg and colleagues evaluate the association between migraine and risk of cardiovascular disease, venous thromboembolism, atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter, and heart failure in the Danish general population.6 They matched more than 51 000 migraine patients with more than 510 000 people without migraine. After 19 years of follow-up, patients with migraine were more likely to have all endpoints except peripheral arterial disease and heart failure. Adjusted hazard ratios ranged from 1.25 (95% confidence interval 1.16 to …

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