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Researchers find increased cardiovascular response to nitroglycerin injection in migraine patients


Researchers have found an increased cardiovascular response in migraine patients to nitroglycerin injection, indicating a greater systemic vulnerability in them to this compound. In fact, nitroglycerin has been shown to be a strong migraine-provoking compound in previous studies.
A clinical investigation published in the journal 'Cephalalgia', the official journal of the International Headache Society, suggested that migraine patients may exhibit a systemic pathophysiological alteration.
The study, entitled "Abnormal cardiovascular response to nitroglycerin in migraine", was conducted by Dr Willebrordus PJ van Oosterhout, from Leiden University Medical Centre, Department of Neurology, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Nitroglycerine (NTG) is known to induce migraine attacks in migraine patients. Because of its vasodilating properties, NTG is used in cardiovascular research to test cardiovascular adjustments in the face of changes in blood pressure secondary to blood venous pooling.
For example, NTG is used to test baroreflex function in individuals with vasovagal syncope, which is more common in migraine patients.
Dr van Oosterhout and colleagues assessed cardiovascular parameters through photoplethysmography before (-10 min.), during the infusion of NTG intravenously (20 min.), and after the NTG infusion (10 min.)
They compared differences between migraine patients who had NTG-triggered attacks and healthy people. The presence of vasovagal syncope was assessed as well.
Ten healthy participants and 16 migraine patients were included in the study. Thirteen out of 16 patients (81.3 per cent) had migraine attacks following NTG infusion, against none from the control group. No vasovagal syncope was provoked.
Migraine patients showed higher heart rate response to NTG infusion.

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First Published: Dec 28 2019 | 11:11 AM IST

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