What is the relationship between cervical artery dissection and migraine?

Association between migraine and cervical artery dissection: the Italian project on stroke in young adults.

De Giuli V, Grassi M, Lodigiani C, et al

JAMA Neurol 2017; 74:512-518.



To investigate whether a history of migraine and its subtypes is associated with the occurrence of CEAD.


A prospective cohort study of consecutive patients aged 18 to 45 years with first-ever acute ischemic stroke enrolled in the multicenter Italian Project on Stroke in Young Adults was conducted between January 1, 2000, and June 30, 2015. In a case-control design, the study assessed whether the frequency of migraine and its subtypes (presence or absence of an aura) differs between patients whose IS was due to CEAD (CEAD IS) and those whose IS was due to a cause other than CEAD (non-CEAD IS) and compared the characteristics of patients with CEAD IS with and without migraine.


Of the 2485 patients (mean [SD] age, 36.8 [7.1] years; women, 1163 [46.8%]) included in the registry, 334 (13.4%) had CEAD IS and 2151 (86.6%) had non-CEAD IS. Migraine was more common in the CEAD IS group (103 [30.8%] vs 525 [24.4%], P = .01), and the difference was mainly due to migraine without aura (80 [24.0%] vs 335 [15.6%], P < .001). Compared with migraine with aura, migraine without aura was independently associated with CEAD IS (OR, 1.74; 95% CI, 1.30-2.33). The strength of this association was higher in men (OR, 1.99; 95% CI, 1.31-3.04) and in patients 39.0 years or younger (OR, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.22-2.71). The risk factor profile was similar in migrainous and non-migrainous patients with CEAD IS (eg, hypertension, 20 [19.4%] vs 57 [24.7%], P = .29; diabetes, 1 [1.0%] vs 3 [1.3%], P > .99).


In patients with ischaemic stroke  aged 18 to 45 years, migraine, especially migraine without aura, is consistently associated with cervical artery dissection. This finding suggests common features and warrants further analyses to elucidate the underlying biologic mechanisms.

This abstract is included in the neurochecklist:

Cervical artery dissection (CEAD): causes and risk factors

 Abstract link

Migraine. aka Tman on Flikr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/rundwolf/331545021

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