Migraine and TEE

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New Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 10/29/2005 6:24 AM (GMT -6)   
I (was ) having migraines since early teen years.  Now they are gone.  I used to have up to 3 per week.  Occular migraines since they not only affected my head paine but also my vision.  At one time I thought I was just having a brain tumor and someday I'd just die.  When I reached 40 I had a really bad one that put me in the hospital,  the diagnosis was simply bad, "a bad migraine."  The next time I had a bad one at age 50 it also put me in the hospital.  They said it was a stroke, and it was.  My wife was not just happy with that diagnosis and insisited on more testing. I spent over a week in the hospital.  The last day a cardiologist signed me up for a TEE. This was a camera put down my throat which took pictures of my heart.  It found a hole between the top two chambers in my heart.  The result was a prescription for medicine.  My lovely wife was not happy with that either.  She contacted the University of PA hospital in Philledelphia to see if there was a cure.  They said yes there is it takes only hours.  I went down,  they put a camera in one artery in the leg, fed it to the heart,  and in the other artery put a titanium/polyimide plug and took it to the heart.  I was awake watching the camera.  It only took about 45 minutes and it was done,  I went home the next day.  Bottom line,  no more migraines.  Apparently the hole which is supposed to close at birth didn't (a number of people have this same problem it is not rare.)  The hole allowed blood that didn't pass thru the lungs for filtering to go to the brain.  A small clot went to the brain and caused these migraines since early teen years.  They put me on Plavix for 4 months and now I am on enteric baby asprin one per day.  I take Vitamin E now to also thin the blood.  No more migraines.  Life is just so different now.  My advice is to see a cardioligist, ask for a TEE and see if you have the hole.  On the food side, my opinion, is that there are foods and or processed foods or chemicals that can cause clots,  I don't do caffine, don't eat much cheese, and never do any MSG.  My doctor's office is involved in a migraine study.  I asked my new doctor to look into these patients and have them do a TEE.  The response was that it may be too expensive.  I assume that the study was just another drug study.  I see that some drug companies say that 2/3 of people are not happy with their migraine drugs.  My advice,  see the cardiologist.  I wish they had a TEE when I was a teen,  and a fix for the problem like they have today.  -Bill

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 66
   Posted 11/4/2005 2:08 AM (GMT -6)   
So very interesting, Bill. My 15 year old daughter has headaches, now controlled with Lexapro. However, she also has exercise induced asthma (or so we think) The doctor suggested an echocardiogram to make sure that the shortness of breath is not cardiac. I took it with a grain of salt and was putting off the test, but after reading your story, I think I will make sure I get that test done. Thanks for sharing.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2004
Total Posts : 921
   Posted 11/4/2005 10:13 PM (GMT -6)   

TEE is transesophageal echocardiography which is used  to ascertain the presence or absence of patent foramen ovale (the small hole between the upper two chambers of the heart-everyone has at birth, some do not close as people age, most do not cause problems)

Studies have found in Stroke patients that happen to have migraines that when those have been closed for other reasons their migraines have been greatly reduced if not completely eliminated, clinical trials have been underway for sometime to see what percentage of migraineurs have PFO and what percentage of those people again a reduction or complete elimination once the hole has been "fixed"

I was screened for PFO at the University of Kentucky about a year ago and was a little sad to find that I did not have PFO... I guess I was disappointed to not have a "fix" and having to still deal with migraine preventatives, abortives and pain meds....


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