Study Suggests 5 Stroke Risk Factors for Those With Migraine, Aura

The research revealed 5 risk factors for stroke for patients with migraine with aura.

A simple risk score prediction model has been developed to determine stroke risk in adults who experience migraine with aura, according to preliminary research.

The research was presented at the American Association’s International Stroke Conference 2020 this past week in Los Angeles, California. Researchers used data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Cohort (ARIC), a community-based group of people from 4 localities, including Forsyth County, North Carolina; Jackson, Mississippi; Washington County, Maryland; and suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The group of individuals had been followed and monitored since 1987.

"People who have migraine with aura are at increased risk for an ischemic stroke," Souvik Sen, MD, MPH, study co-author, and professor and chair of the neurology department at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, said in a statement. "With our new risk-prediction tool, we could start identifying those at higher risk, treat their risk factors and lower their risk of stroke."

In total, 429 adults with a history of migraine with aura and in their 50s at first visit were evaluated. The researchers’ analysis revealed 5 risk factors for stroke and they created a prediction model with each factor assigned a number of points proportional to its influence.

These points included:

  • Diabetes (7 points)
  • Age greater than 65 years (5 points)
  • Heart rate variability (3 points)
  • High blood pressure (3 points)
  • Gender (1 point)

The researchers classified each participant into 1 of 3 groups: low-risk (0 to 4 points), intermediate-risk (5 to 10 points), and high-risk (11 to 21 points).

The main results showed that 32 people experienced stroke over the course of 18 years of follow-up. Specifically, at the end of 18 years, 3% in the low-risk group, 8% in the intermediate-risk group, and 34% in the high-risk group had a stroke. Additionally, when compared to the low-risk group, migraine with aura sufferers in the high-risk group were about 7 times more likely to have a stroke, according to the results.

The researchers concluded that the new prediction tool must be validated in a larger population.


Trivedi T, Vezzetti A, Melikov P, et al. Migraine with aura as a risk for ischemic stroke (MARS) risk score. Presented at: International Stroke Conference, Los Angeles, California; February 19-21, 2020. Poster WMP 1177.

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