US doctors examined 109 children over six who suffered from migraines. About half of those with migraines accompanied by a visual disturbance called an aura had the heart defect.
This is nearly double the rate seen in a normal populations.
The medical term for hole-in-the-heart is called patent foramen ovale or PFO. It is a flap or valve-like opening in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart.
When there is pressure inside the chest, such as that caused by coughing, the flap can open and allow blood to flow through in either direction, bypassing the body’s filtering system. If there is debris present in the blood it can pass through the left atrium of the heart and lodge in the brain, causing a strock.
Previous studies have found a link in adults with migraines accompanied by aura and PFO.
Around one in 10 patients experience aura with their migraines. Symptoms include seeing flashing or flickering lights, numbness, tingling sensations and slurred speech.
The study was published in the Journal of Pediatrics.