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Rom J Intern Med. 2007;45(4):355-63.

Antiphospholipid antibodies and migraine: a retrospective study of 428 patients with inflammatory connective tissue diseases.

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Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Department of Neurology, Colentina Hospital, Bucharest, Romania


The antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is defined by the presence of antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL), associated with thrombosis or recurrent spontaneous abortions. APS can occur alone or secondary to other conditions, especially associated to inflammatory systemic autoimmune diseases. Among the neurological manifestations associated with aPL, only ischemic stroke is recognized by the actual classification criteria for APS. Other neurological manifestations have been, however, repeatedly reported in case studies of APS patients. Headache, and especially migraine, was commonly reported in APS patients and is one of the classical features described by Hughes as related to aPL, but studies failed to confirm this association. We studied retrospectively the association between headache syndromes and aPL in 428 patients with inflammatory connective tissue diseases admitted in the Neurology and Internal Medicine Departments of Colentina Hospital-Bucharest. We found that migraine alone, not headache of all types, is significantly associated with aPL in patients with systemic immune disease. We studied the presence of cerebral ischemia in patients with headache and aPL. In SLE patients, headache (all types) is significantly associated with positive titers of aPL, and cerebral ischemic lesions are significantly encountered. Even if both migraine and aPL are conditions with high frequency in patients with immune systemic disease and their association may be coincidental, the presence of ischemic lesions in patients showing this association suggests the need to define a sub-group at risk, for whom headache can be a marker and anticoagulants can be discussed.

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