Migraine sufferers are at a higher risk for stroke after a surgery, according to research findings. The risk of stroke after a surgery was found to be slightly higher among those who suffer from migraine with aura. In fact, these patients were found to have more than double the risk of experiencing a stroke after a surgery, compared to patients without migraines.
Those who suffer from migraines without aura still had a 75 percent higher risk of stroke after surgery, compared to people without migraines.
The researchers did stress that the overall risk of experiencing a stroke after surgery is still relatively low, so migraine sufferers should not be alarmed. The increase in the risk actually means that about one in every 1,000 patients with migraine with aura will experience a stroke after surgery.
Lead researcher Dr. Matthias Eikermann explained, “The risk is low, fortunately. Most of the [migraine sufferers] who undergo surgery never have a stroke. Patients should be informed about the risk. Doctors should also be aware of this increased risk, particularly in patients with migraine who do not have traditional risk factors for stroke.”
The researchers speculate that migraine sufferers are genetically predisposed to have a higher risk of stroke compared to the general population.
Further findings uncovered that migraine sufferers taking certain blood pressure medications had a slightly higher risk of stroke, compared to those not taking the blood pressure medication.
Dr. Salman Azhar, director of stroke at Lenox Hill Hospital who was not involved in the study, commented, “We have always known that migraine patients, especially those with aura, have a slightly increased risk of strokes. A lot of risk in surgery comes as we get older. In this case, however, this is a risk for young people having surgery. Their risk is no longer minimal, it’s bumped up a little.”
The researchers reviewed data from 125,000 patients who underwent surgery. Less than one percent experienced a stroke 30 days after surgery. Of those, eight percent were migraine patients and of which 13 percent had migraine with aura.
The link between stroke risk and migraines remained even after the researchers adjusted for contributing factors, such as the reason for surgery, surgery itself, age, sex, and pre-existing cardiovascular conditions.