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Heart Defect Is Linked to Some Cases of Migraine Headache

ucting a new trial called the ESCAPE trial. (ESCAPE stands for Effect of Septal Closure of Atrial PFO on Events of Migraine with Premere?.) Led by St. Jude Medical in Minnetonka MN, the study aims to close PFOs in 500 migraine patients who haven’t responded well to current medications.

“We don’t believe this will be a cure for all migraines,” says Lasala, medical director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory and professor of medicine. “But even if it’s effective in just 50 percent of migraine patients with PFOs, it could benefit a lot of people.”

The apparatus used to close PFOs in the ESCAPE trial, invented by Dennis W. Wahr, M.D., of St. Jude Medical, delivers a small device to the heart through a vein in the leg. Once in place at the PFO, the tip of the device can be opened like a miniature umbrella with two opposing canopies that press on either side of the wall separating the atria.

“I designed Premere specifically for sealing PFOs — it has a very minimal, open architecture,” Wahr says. “With a PFO, you just have to hold the door shut for a while until it heals, so you don’t need a lot of metal and fabric.”

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