Migraines may not start in your head
Closing up tiny heart defect shows promise for some headache sufferers
[…] It didn’t make much sense to Colleen Shabarekh that repairing a common defect in her heart would help get rid of her headaches. But after suffering from migraines for 30 years, she was willing to try just about anything.
So the Webster resident enrolled in a new clinical trial at the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, a study intended to determine whether repairing a congenital hole in the heart helps reduce the severity or frequency of migraines.
Doctors determined that Shabarekh did, indeed, have a patent foramen ovale, or a PFO, an opening between the two upper chambers of the heart that occurs in an estimated one in four adults, usually without causing symptoms.
In late August, doctors used a small device to close the flap-like passageway in Shabarekh’s heart.
And in the month and a half since then, Shabarekh, who used to be debilitated by three or four migraines a week, has experienced only two.
“I’m ecstatic,” said the 39-year-old receptionist. “I went into it with zero expectations, because so many things that they’ve tried before have not worked. I was tired of getting my hopes up and crashing. So it was a nice surprise.” […]