Autonomic Dysfunction in Adult Migraineurs


  • H. Havanka-Kanniainen,

  • U. Tolonen,

  • V.V. Myllylä



The autonomic nervous system (ANS) functions of 60 migraine patients, aged from 23 to 50 years, wereinvestigated during headache-free intervals by utilizing a number of cardiovascular reflexes as indices.Thirty-five healthy subjects of similar age served as a control group. The pulse rate (R-R-interval) variationwas recorded in normal and deep breathing, in the Valsalva manoeuvre, and in an orthostatic test (a tilttable was used); and the blood pressure reactions were recorded in an orthostatic test and in an isometricwork (hand grip) test.There were significant differences in the results between migraine patients and control subjects in theR-R-interval variation ratio, both in normal and deep breathing tests and in the Valsalva manoeuvre. Thedifferences between migraine patients and controls in pulse rate variation in orthostatic test and in bloodpressure reactions in isometric work test were highly significant (p < 0.001 ). There were no statisticallysignificant differences in cardiovascular reflex responses of various subgroups of migraine patients(common-classic, frequent-infrequent attacks, normal-abnormal EEGs). These results suggest mildparasympathetic hypo function, but more definite sympathetic hypofunction (Valsalva manoeuvre,orthostatic test and isometric work test) in adult migraine patients during headache-free intervals.