In twenty-one migraine patients, cardiovascular reflex responses and noradrenaline (NA) levels were measured before and after four weeks of calcium antagonist nimodipine medication. Nineteen healthy subjects served as a control group for cardiovascular reflex responses and ten of them as a control group for noradrenaline levels.
Neither the cardiovascular reflexes nor the noradrenaline levels differed significantly when the values before and after four weeks of nimodipine medication were compared with each other.
The mean pulse rate reaction connected with both normal and deep breathing differed significantly when the results of migraine patients and controls were compared with each other, this result suggesting subtle parasympathetic hypofunction in migraine patients. When the mean Valsalva ratios and the mean postural pulse rate reaction ratios were compared, the ratios in migraine patients were significantly lower than in control subjects (p<0.025), suggesting sympathetic hypofunction in migraine patients. The mean diastolic blood pressure rise in migraineurs in the isometric work test was 15.2 ± 9.4 and in controls 24.0 ± 9.4 (p<0.001). The baseline levels of the NA determinations did not differ when the values of migraineurs and controls were compared with each other; but after 3 minutes of standing, the rise in NA levels in migraine patients was significantly lower than in controls (p<0.05). These results suggest sympathetic hypofunction in migraineurs.