The Journal of Headache and Pain

Official Journal of the "European Headache Federation" and of "Lifting The Burden - The Global Campaign against Headache"

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Open Access

Transcranial Doppler measurements in migraine and nitroglycerin headache

  • Mounzer Y. Kassab1Email author,
  • Arshad Majid1,
  • Omid Bakhtar1,
  • Muhammad U. Farooq1,
  • Kamakshi Patel1 and
  • Edward M. Bednarczyk2
The Journal of Headache and Pain20078:413

Received: 15 April 2007

Accepted: 14 September 2007

Published: 25 October 2007


The objective of this study was to examine the cerebral circulation during spontaneous migraine attacks and to compare changes to an experimental headache model induced by nitroglycerin (NTG) infusion. This prospective study was carried out in a tertiary care hospital on migraineurs with or without aura. Healthy volunteers served as controls. There were no interventions. Flow velocity (FV) and pulsatility index (PI) were measured in migraineurs between and during headache attacks. In controls, FV and PI of the middle cerebral arteries were performed at baseline and after each IV infusion of 0.125, 0.25 and 0.5 μg/kg/min of NTG. In migraineurs, a significant increase in the mean flow velocity (MFV) in the left vertebral artery (VA) and the PI of the right VA during spontaneous migraine headache was found. In controls, all FV significantly decreased after infusion of NTG. The NTG model produces expected and substantially different vascular effects than those seen with spontaneous migraine headache.


Transcranial DopplerFlow velocityPulsatility indexNitroglycerinMigraineHeadache


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