Migraine triggered by heart rate with exercise

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Palious

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Prior to my aortic root replacement in 2011, I was an keen runner, cyclist & squash player with many marathons under my belt. I recovered from the op quickly and planned to get back to fitness slowly but surely. Post op I was hit by many 'classical' migraines (which I had suffered from previously but only about once per month and never associated with exercise). Whilst the daily, multiple migraines have now stopped they are now triggered by any exercise which elevates my heart rate over 140! The trigger can be hill walking, cycling or any exercise which causes my heart rate to go above about 140. I am used to using a heart rate monitor for training so I have clear graphs which show my HR rockets to +165 whenever I place any exercise demand on my heart. I have plenty of experience in building up training slowly.
Four years on and this is quite depressing.
Has anyone else come across a link between migraine and exercise after valve replacement surgery?
 

Paleowoman

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Hi Pallous - I haven't had any migraines assiciated with exercise apart from prior to heart surgery, some years earlier I used to get migraine when doing heavy weight lifting which would last for at least 24 to 48 hours - it's called "exertional migraine" and is associated with raised heart rate: https://migraine.com/headache-types/exertion-headaches/ I took a low dose of propranolol before strenous exercise and that got rid of the associated migraines and then they just went away without needing anything. The neurologist I saw (had MRI to check things out) said "exertional migraines" are also associated with sex - the riased heart rate causing migraine !

However, since having valve replacement surgery I have had migraine auras without headache, double vision and sparkles of bright light crossing my vision - started the day after surgery and is associated with being on the heart lung machine I believe. Not so bad now as it was the first 18 months post surgery but still get them, and get them out of the blue, there are no triggers. See this thread: http://www.valvereplacement.org/foru...ardiac-surgery
 

Palious

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Paleogirl, many thanks for these links. I have read through them and I will ask my doctor about propranolol because the migraine is often associated with an agonising pain behind my right eye. I did receive some permanent damage to my visual cortex during the op which is a small 'dirty blind spot' in my left lower vision, probably caused by a particle travelling that area of the brain when I was on the heart/lung m/c. I would imagine that any impact of the heart/lung m/c would be immediate? It could be that as all migraines are shown to be associated with vascular dilation in the brain, the variation of blood flow dynamics and pressures in the area of the ascending aorta & valve caused by our grafts could possibly to blame? A good subject for research based on the number of people here with similar symptoms. Thanks again.
 

spartangator

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Hi Palious,
Yes, after surgery I had similar migraines for several months. They've since passed, but I do also get the auras once in a while as well still (as Paleogirl mentions). Judging by comments on here, all this certainly doesn't seem rare. I hope your doctor can help. I hope you can get back to being active in the way you like soon.
 

JTTwo

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Count me as another who sometimes suffers from migraine auras after exercise. This has been an ongoing issue for me since my surgery in 2012. I wish I knew the cause myself, but I haven't found many correlations to this point. For me, the migraine auras come afterwards, usually anywhere from 10-20 minutes after. They don't happen every time for me, maybe 1 in 3 or less. Staying well on top of my hydration seems to help a little (I think), but we'll see how it goes. I just had an episode of a migraine aura after a session on my cycling trainer last week. The workout was a fairly straightforward Tempo workout with higher pedal tension and I didn't go over 140 HR.

I'm keenly interested in any solutions that help any of you.
 

epstns

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Has anybody checked their BP when these migraines occur? I just wonder if their BP is elevated due to the stress of exercise, and the pressure might cause migraine or headaches.
 

SumoRunner

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I have always had the migraine auras, but never the headaches. I can recall the auras when I was young and didn't know what they were. I've had them on and off this past month, and then sometimes I've gone months or years without them at all. There is no explanation for what triggers them.
 

workmonkey

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I'm right there with you. The visual auras started literally the day after my surgery, while laying in recovery. That was 2 years ago. Now, they almost exclusively happen after exercise, which is a bummer because I try to exercise as frequently as possible. I've noted caffeine as a trigger as well. I also have had periods of double vision (lasting for 2 or 3 minutes) and tingling/numbness in either side of my body. A trip to the neurologist earned me a diagnosis of "complex migraines". This is an umbrella term, but generally fits with the symptoms, as everything else was ruled out. They aren't dangerous, although spending three minutes with double vision or 75% blindness in one eye can be extremely frustrating, especially when it pops up out of the blue, or in a work meeting.

I've tried Aleve with some success, and hydration (especially before exercise) is really important. But nothing 100% solves it, so I've just accepted it as part of life. Technically, you can get a brain MRI/Cat Scan and corresponding medication if they really become a problem, but (so far) it doesn't seem like enough of a danger to merit that, as they always go away with time.

If you find any success getting rid of them, let us know! Good luck!
 

DachsieMom

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This is an interesting post. I never had a single headache my entire life. Then, right before surgery, I had the aura with migraine. Had no idea what it was - thought I stared at a light too long. After surgery I had them frequently, even to the point of throwing up. Now, 9 months post surgery, I have about one a month. I take a Tylenol as soon as the aura starts and that usually helps (although not last week!). I thought it coukd be due to hormones (I am a 42 yr old female).
 

peners

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very interesting, I had aortic valve replacement 2013 and since have had so many migraines, starting with stars, then blurred vision, followed by zig-zag aura and fortunately don't get the headache but do not feel right for 24hrs. These seem to come in bouts, I stopped eating wheat and this stopped them for many months and lowered my bp so came off candasartan, my bp slowly crept up so had to go back on them and this triggered 3 in 3 days so stopped candasartan for 2 weeks as doctor said these could be a potential trigger, I have since restarted taking them and no migraines for a month?
I have often had them during and after exercise and times when I am run down too. What I am trying to say is all sorts triggers these horrible migraines off and it seems surgery started the whole thing.
It is hard to know how to stop this happening as they can strike anytime anywhere but hoping like a lot of symptoms after surgery will dissipate over time.
It is reassuring to know that it is not just me
 

aobauer

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Adding one more voice to this thread, because while a lot of us seem to be experiencing this, there doesn't seem to be any research suggesting a link. I had rare migraines before my MV repair. Post surgery I got frequent auras, but didn't get a headache. A few months later the headaches started as well. I'm now getting them much more frequently than I did before the surgery, and they seem to be associated with exercise. I'd say I average 1 a week, and I can directly tie the majority (maybe 80% of them?) of them to within hours of exercising. I tend to get them more frequently when I"m also more tired and less hydrated, though sometimes that's not the case.

I'm also having another exercise related issue I posted elsewhere (Systolic Anterior Motion of the mitral valve when my heart gets over 140bpm), and I've often wondered if that's related to my headaches. Cardiologist doesn't think so.
 

JulienDu

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aobauer;n864599 said:
A few months later the headaches started as well. I'm now getting them much more frequently than I did before the surgery, and they seem to be associated with exercise.
Did you experience the headache when you stopped the Aspirin ?
 

Paleowoman

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aobauer;n864599 said:
Adding one more voice to this thread, because while a lot of us seem to be experiencing this, there doesn't seem to be any research suggesting a link.
There is some research, here's a report about it written in 2009: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090813142455.htm "Possible neurological complications of heart surgery, ranging from headaches to strokes, are detailed in a new report i(n the online journal MedLink Neurology). For example, complications from bypass surgery can include vision problems, paralysis, hoarseness, movement disorders and disturbances in learning, memory, attention, concentration and mental agility." (my bold)
 

aobauer

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I need to start subscribing to threads.

JulienDu;n864603 said:
Did you experience the headache when you stopped the Aspirin ?
I'm still using baby aspirin on doctor's orders. I haven't seen anything that suggested aspiring was associated with anything but better/reduced migraines.

PaleoGirl, I can't find the source of that, but I wonder what the vision problems after bypass surgery actually are.
 

Paleowoman

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aobauer;n864941 said:
PaleoGirl, I can't find the source of that, but I wonder what the vision problems after bypass surgery actually are.
In this report: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090813142455.htm It states: "Possible neurological complications of heart surgery, ranging from headaches to strokes, are detailed in a new report. For example, complications from bypass surgery can include vision problems, paralysis, hoarseness, movement disorders and disturbances in learning, memory, attention, concentration and mental agility."
I started getting sparkles of light crossing my vision daily since the day after heart surgery, with migraine auras without headache and double vision every one or two weeks. It's now well over two years since AVR.
 

pellicle

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Hi
Paleogirl;n864943 said:
I started getting sparkles of light crossing my vision daily since the day after heart surgery, with migraine auras without headache and double vision every one or two weeks. It's now well over two years since AVR.
firstly I get them too ... what I don't know for sure is if I've had them all my life, or only since the first surgery. As I was quite young I don't recall if I got them after surgery or had them before. Thinking about it it may have been post surgery ... however human memory back to that distance of time is unreliable

None the less my comment was going to be that to this point I don't think anyone has made it clear what causes them and they are part of the general population too...
 

Paleowoman

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pellicle;n864944 said:
None the less my comment was going to be that to this point I don't think anyone has made it clear what causes them and they are part of the general population too...
One of the doctors on the cardiac ward I was on told me, when I reported these symptoms, that they were a common side effect of cardiac surgery. And this report, which I keep posting a link to, says it's a neurological complication/side effect, of being on the heart lung machine: https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0813142455.htm It states: "Possible neurological complications of heart surgery, ranging from headaches to strokes, are detailed in a new report. For example, complications from bypass surgery can include vision problems, paralysis, hoarseness, movement disorders and disturbances in learning, memory, attention, concentration and mental agility."

I suspect that none of this has been investigated fully though. My cardiologist offered to refer me to a neurologist but, since I don't think the symptoms are bad enough to warrant seeing a specialist, I haven't taken him up on it. Here's a couple of previous threads about these visual disturbances following cardiac surgery: http://www.valvereplacement.org/for...y/34128-headaches-migraines-following-surgery and http://www.valvereplacement.org/for...964-visual-problems-following-cardiac-surgery I don't think symptoms common to the general population are relevant here since these symptoms appear to have started with most of the writers to these threads immediately after cardiac surgery - and if you read that list of problems following cardiac surgery most of them are common in the general population - it's the incidence of them following cardiac surgery that is the point.
 

pellicle

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Hi

Yes, I saw that you keep posting that link..

Paleogirl;n864948 said:
...And this report, which I keep posting a link to, says it's a neurological complication/side effect, of being on the heart lung machine: https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0813142455.htm It states: "Possible neurological complications of heart surgery, ranging from headaches to strokes, are detailed in a new report...."
... two things:
  1. are you saying that I'm wrong, and that general population who have not ever had surgery do not get migrains?
  2. Then there is the point: so we go from a quote which says possible to a conclusion of its a side effect.
I do not mind that you yourself are concluded that there is a 100% correlation between OHS and migraines, or even that you are sure that you never had them before. I just want to know why you are writing to seemingly correct something I've said while not correcting it at all and extending the reach of the research you cite to go from possible to certainty to do so.

Please also note that I did not say there was no correlation between surgery and migraines The above was probably one of my shortest posts, so its disappointing that even when I write so little, what I say gets turned around 180 degrees from what I said.
 

Paleowoman

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pellicle;n864949 said:
[*]are you saying that I'm wrong, and that general population who have not ever had surgery do not get migrains?
You must be kidding - nowhere did I say that ! I said that it's the incidence of visual disturbances, including migraine aura, imediately following cardiac surgery which is significant here ! Of course people who have never had cardiac surgery can get migraine - do you think I'm stupid Pellicle ?!?!? It's the incidence following cardiac surgery we're talking about here - how many times do I have to say it - that's why I keep posting that link which lists several things which are "complications" of being on the bypass machine aka heart lung machine - all those problems - read the list - occur in the general population BUT it is the incidence following cardiac surgery that is the significant bit.

pellicle;n864949 said:
[/LIST] I do not mind that you yourself are concluded that there is a 100% correlation between OHS and migraines,
I did not. I concluded that there is a correlation for people who get visual problems, including migraines, imediately following cardiac surgery. I have quoted the cardiac doctor who told me and I have quoted that report.

pellicle;n864949 said:
[/LIST]I just want to know why you are writing to seemingly correct something I've said while not correcting it at all
You're doing exactly the same to me. You seem to be convinced, or give a very good impression of, that with everyone who has visual problems imediatley following cardiac surgery that it is nothing to do with cardiac surgery !

pellicle;n864949 said:
[/LIST]Please also note that I did not say there was no correlation between surgery and migraines The above was probably one of my shortest posts, so its disappointing that even when I write so little, what I say gets turned around 180 degrees from what I said.
It sounds like you're turning around what I say Pellicile. Why on earth do we have to argue about something like this ? People on here want to know why they are getting visual problems immediatley following cardiac surgery. I think it's atually very intereresting that there's enough posts about it, both on the current forum and the previous one.
 

pellicle

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Paleogirl;n864950 said:
You must be kidding
if you check what I quoted you'll find it verbatim ... I did not edit it other than to magnify the points.

My short post was intended to support your view and I found your post quoting me and then copying your own post again to be strongly suggestive that you disagreed with me.

Like I said to begin with (simply):

I get migraines.

I don't remember if I got them before surgery or not because I was young.

Surgery may have cause mine, but I can't be sure.

Surgery is clearly not the only factor involved because millions get migraines who have not had surgery.

Nothing more ... nothing less.

You're doing exactly the same to me. You seem to be convinced, or give a very good impression of, that with everyone who has visual problems imediatley following cardiac surgery that it is nothing to do with cardiac surgery !
please explain how you reach that conclusion? It seems impossible for me to grasp that you could twist something so simple into that....

I did not. I concluded that there is a correlation f
please refer again to the magnified words ... "possible" and "says its" ...

The phrase "IT IS" is not the same as "IT MAY BE"

this is how people develop misunderstandings. Someone writes stuff which is incorrect : someone else reads it and accepts it. IT IS does not imply correlation it implies equation.

Why on earth do we have to argue about something like this ?
because you made the leap from possible to certainty and because it seemed to me you were ignoring that millions and millions of people get migraines who have not had surgery, so there may be other factors. So its not entirely clear that its surgery which causes it. We're not even sure that its the pump ... we just don't know. You seemed to be suggesting we had total certainty.

we don't.
 
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