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C-Reactive Protein May Be Increased in Migraine Patients Who Present With Complex Clinical Features


  • K. M. A. Welch MB, ChB, FRCP,

  • Avery W. Brandes,

  • Lauren Salerno,

  • Jan Lewis Brandes MD

  • From the Department of Neurology, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, IL (Dr. Welch); and the Nashville Neuroscience Group, Nashville, Tennessee (Avery Brandes, Lauren Saterno, and Dr. Brandes).

Address all correspondence to Dr. K. Michael Welch; President and CEO, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, 3333 Green Bay Road, North Chicago, IL 60064.


Objectives.—Stroke risk is increased in migraine, the basis of which remains to be established. C-reactive protein (CRP) is a marker of cerebrovascular disease, suggesting in part an inflammatory mechanism. Because attacks of migraine may involve repeated sterile vascular inflammation, we measured CRP in migraine patients.

Methods.—Retrospective review was conducted of 60 randomly sampled charts of patients with the diagnosis of migraine without aura (MwoA, n = 29) and migraine with aura (MwA, n = 31), in which CRP was recorded as part of the differential diagnostic evaluation. CRP was measured by standard commercial laboratory methods; high sensitivity CRP (hs-CRP) values above 3mg/L were considered abnormal.

Results.—Elevated hs-CRP was found in 43% of all patients (26 of 60). In MwoA, of 29 subjects, abnormal hs-CRP was recorded in 16; in 10 no other conditions were found to explain the abnormality. In MwA, of 31 subjects, abnormal CRP was recorded in 10; in 5 no other condition could explain the abnormality. No associations were found between other demographic or clinical features.

Conclusions.—CRP may be abnormal in MwoA and MwA patients who present with atypical, severe, or complex clinical features that require extensive differential diagnostic investigation.

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