caret icon Back to all discussions

Migraine and PFO heart condition

Hello... I'm looking for advice on whether having a PFO (Patent Foramen Ovale - a small congenital opening in the heart atria) surgically closed then improves the incidence of migraine with aura? I'm scheduled to have this op done but there's not much data online and it's a bit inconclusive. Has anybody had this procedure done and found their migraines reduced?

  1. Hi @Calum, while you're waiting for feedback from the community, I wanted to share a list of articles that speak to PFO for you to browse: https://migraine.com/search?s=PFO. Th first article on the list may be of particular interest. - Warmly, Donna (team member)

    1. Thanks Donna, I'll have a look.


      1. Thank you for reaching out with this question. If I'm not mistaken there was a study, I believe called MIST that was stopped due to lots of controversary and didn't show effectiveness. You can read more here; https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/569169.
        Are there other reasons to have this procedure done? Please research this carefully. I'd hate for you to have this done and it made no impact on migraine.
        The thing is migraine is thought to be a neurological disease that impact our entire body. I hope I made sense! Nancy Harris Bonk, Patient Leader/Moderator Migraine.com Team

    2. Hi Nancy, thanks for your post. Yes, my reason for having the PFO closure op is on the advice of the neurologist/cardiologist team that investigated my TIA of cryptogenic nature (i.e. not obviously attributed to lifestyle etc) and discussed risk analysis of a recurrence (c.5% higher than general population). They were non-committal on benefits to migraine post-procedure, stating evidence suggests one third see improvement, one third see no change, and - and this is the reason I'm trying to research this - one third see an increase in migraine symptoms! I know medical thinking has in the last few years returned to believing in the efficacy of closing the PFO, having had a lengthy period of not doing the procedure due to inconclusive evidence. Reading Trials conclusions is equally non-committal. I guess I'll go ahead with the closure on the basis of the TIA having happened... and hope for the best in terms of my migraine with aura.


      1. Thanks for the update and great job on researching things. Best of luck, please keep me posted!
        Nancy Harris Bonk, Patient Leader/Moderator Migraine.com Team

    or create an account to reply.