• migraine;
  • ankle-brachial index;
  • peripheral obstructive arterial disease

(Headache 2010;50:626-630)

Background.— Epidemiological studies support the association between migraine, especially migraine with aura, and vascular disorders. The ankle-brachial index (ABI) is largely used as a surrogate of peripheral obstructive arterial disorders (POAD). Accordingly, in this study we contrasted the ABI in individuals with migraine and in controls.

Methods.— We investigated 50 migraineurs and 38 controls and obtained the ABI (ratio between the systolic arterial pressure obtained in the legs and in the arms) using digital sphygmomanometry. As per validation studies, we used the cut-off of 0.9 as the normal limit for the ABI. We adjusted for gender, use of contraceptive hormones, tabagism, and other cardiovascular risk factors.

Results.— We found abnormal values of ABI, suggestive of mild or moderate POAD, in 31 individuals (35.2%). Mean value was 0.96 (standard deviation = 0.10). None of our patients had ABI < 0.4, which would suggest severe POAD. Mean ABI for migraineurs was 0.94 (0.11), and for controls it was 0.99 (0.09). Difference was significant (t = 2.21 and P = .022).

After adjustments, ABI remained significantly associated with migraine status (P = .024). Adjustments were reasonably effective (X2 of Hosmer-Lemeshow = 1.06, P = .590).

Conclusion.— Our findings suggest that decreased values of ABI are more common in migraineurs than in controls. Although causality was not assessed by us, the relationship is of importance per se. Doctors should measure the ABI in individuals with migraine as an easy way to screen for cardiovascular risk.