Objective.—To investigate the relationship of livedo reticularis, an ischemic dermatopathy, and migraine, an ischemic stroke risk factor.
Background.—Livedo reticularis refers to the reddish-blue reticular mottling of the skin resulting from narrowing of small and medium arteries at the dermis-subcutis border. A subset of patients with livedo reticularis develop stroke in the absence of other vascular risk factors, which has been termed Sneddon syndrome. We undertook this prospective study in a non-neurology clinic to delineate further the relationship of livedo reticularis and migraine.
Methods.—Patients in a general dermatology clinic were interviewed for vascular risk factors and history of migraine in accordance with the International Headache Society (IHS) criteria. A dermatologist, not familiar with the interview, recorded the primary dermatological diagnosis and the presence or absence of livedo reticularis on examination.
Results.—Two hundred eighty-one consecutive patients (184 women and 97 men; average age, 52 years) were interviewed and examined. Seventy-five (27%) had migraine (IHS codes 1.1, 1.2) and an additional 18 (6%) had atypical migraine (IHS 1.7). Livedo reticularis was noted in 46 patients (16%), with the frequency higher in women than men (42 [23%] of 184 versus 4 [4%] of 97; P < .0001). The frequency of livedo reticularis in patients with migraine was higher than in those without migraine (24 [26%] of 93 versus 22 [12%] of 188; P = .002), and higher in female than male migraineurs (23 [32%] of 72 versus 1 [5%] of 21; P = .012). In logistic regression analysis of the women, migraine was associated with livedo reticularis (odds ratio [OR], 2.3; confidence interval [CI], 1.08 to 4.71), as well as with stroke (OR, 4.0; CI, 0.87 to 18.21), coronary artery disease (OR, 3.5; CI, 1.16 to 10.33), and deep venous thrombosis (OR, 3.2; CI, 0.98 to 10.32).
Conclusions.—In women, migraine is associated with stroke, coronary artery disease, deep venous thrombosis, as well as livedo reticularis, a dermatopathy which has been pathologically linked to cerebral vasculopathy. Whether migraineurs with livedo reticularis compose a subset at higher risk of thrombosis, including stroke, deserves further investigation.