Migraine increases the risk of stroke during and after surgery

It is an established fact that migraine, and especially migraine with aura increases the risk of strokes. The increase in the risk is small, but according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal, it is higher during and after surgery.

The researchers examined records of 124,558 surgical patients at the Massachusetts General and two other hospitals. Among these, 8.2% or 10,179 patients had a history of migraines with 1,278 or 12.6% having migraine with aura. The risk of stroke during or within 30 days after surgery was 1-2 in 1,000 among patients without migraine history, 4 in 1,000 in those who had migraines and 6 in 1,000 in patients who had migraine with aura. So, the absolute risk of a stroke is still very small, but the relative risk is statistically much higher. They also discovered that strokes were more common in patients who during surgery needed medications to increase their blood pressure. Most of the strokes occurred within the first two days after surgery.

We do not know why migraine carries an increased risk for strokes, so the only recommendation the authors offer is for migraine diagnosis to be included in the preoperative risk assessment of patients. I would add that according to another study, taking high doses of magnesium and potassium supplements could possibly reduce this risk. Magnesium alone was shown to reduce the risk of strokes in another review of studies involving 6,477 patients. Our own research and that of others have shown the beneficial effect of magnesium on the prevention of migraines as well. Here is one of a dozen posts on magnesium on this blog that provides dosing recommendations.

  1. Marie Hjort says: 10/31/20172:29 am

    Dosis every day for the past 3 month – working for my son (adult size):

    Magnesium 360 mg
    D3 vitamin 50 mg
    Potassium 550 mg
    Iodine as Kelp 225 mcg (mcg, not mg πŸ™‚

    Important to have a level of D3 when taking magneium – lots of sun on body or minimum 35 mg supplement

  2. Marie Hjort says: 10/20/201710:17 am

    Dear A. Mauskop

    Reading the above I just wanted to let you know that my son is 13 years old now, and had severe migraine from age 8/9-13. The whole last year he was in school less than 20 days all together due to migraine.

    I treated him with all alternatives including magnesium, Q10 etc.

    He spent the last 3 years in different hospital- and migraine centers here I Denmark, where we live. Had a specialized neurologist too. Different kind of medicine. Nothing helped.

    3 months ago I started to give him 550 mg Potassium Citrate supplement every day. I helped during 14 days. Now he is almost migraine free.

    Due to some chronic idiopathic urticarial, I think he was continuously drained from Potassium in the cells. Potassium going from the cells to serum in order to reduce the high level of histamine. Magnesium is used in the process.

    As it is reported that many migraine sufferers lack magnesium, or benefits from more magnesium, and lacks serotonin – it is my suggestion that Potassium could be the real key to many migraine cases as it plays a role in both magnesium- and serotonin levels.

    So, I would like to tell you that in our situation, potassium supplement brought the magnesium level up, not magnesium supplement, as I think whatever magnesium supplement I could have given him would have been used up due to lack of potassium.

    However potassium works, and benefits magnesium, it worked for us. I read an abstract on calcium going into the cells when potassium was drained out of them. To much calcium in the cell should bring up contraction and stifnes of the blood veins. It seems right, as one of the much used migraine medications he recieved was flunerizine – in Denmark called Sibelium – which influence calcium levels in cells and veins. To much calcium brings up bloodpressure due to contraction. The medicin is surgested to work by bringing down blood pressure in the brain. I think overall this is what potassium has done for my son. And could do for surgery patients.

    Best regards,

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