Sex Differences in Risk Profile, Stroke Cause and Outcome in Ischemic Stroke Patients With and Without Migraine

Katie M. Linstra, Hendrikus J.A. van Os, the Dutch Parelsnoer Institute Stroke Study Group, Ynte M. Ruigrok, Paul J. Nederkoorn, Ewoud J. van Dijk, L. Jaap Kappelle, Peter J. Koudstaal, Marieke C. Visser, Michel D. Ferrari, Antoinette Maassen Van Den Brink, Gisela M. Terwindt, Marieke J.H. Wermer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: An increased risk of stroke in patients with migraine has been primarily found for women. The sex-dependent mechanisms underlying the migraine–stroke association, however, remain unknown. This study aims to explore these sex differences to improve our understanding of pathophysiological mechanisms behind the migraine–stroke association. Methods: We included 2,492 patients with ischemic stroke from the prospective multicenter Dutch Parelsnoer Institute Initiative study, 425 (17%) of whom had a history of migraine. Cardiovascular risk profile, stroke cause (TOAST classification), and outcome [modified Rankin scale (mRS) at 3 months] were compared with both sexes between patients with and without migraine. Results: A history of migraine was not associated with sex differences in the prevalence of conventional cardiovascular risk factors. Women with migraine had an increased risk of stroke at young age (onset < 50 years) compared with women without migraine (RR: 1.7; 95% CI: 1.3–2.3). Men with migraine tended to have more often stroke in the TOAST category other determined etiology (RR: 1.7; 95% CI: 1.0–2.7) in comparison with men without migraine, whereas this increase was not found in women with migraine. Stroke outcome was similar for women with or without migraine (mRS ≥ 3 RR 1.1; 95% CI 0.7–1.5), whereas men seemed to have a higher risk of poor outcome compared with their counterparts without migraine (mRS ≥ 3 RR: 1.5; 95% CI: 1.0–2.1). Conclusion: Our results indicate possible sex differences in the pathophysiology underlying the migraine–stroke association, which are unrelated to conventional cardiovascular risk factors. Further research in larger cohorts is needed to validate these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number740639
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant of the Dutch Hearth Foundation (grant no. 2013T083) (KL, MW, AM, and GT).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 Linstra, van Os, Ruigrok, Nederkoorn, van Dijk, Kappelle, Koudstaal, Visser, Ferrari, MaassenVanDenBrink, Terwindt and Wermer.


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