Pediatric Heart Expert Forum
fontan with a side of migraine
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fontan with a side of migraine

My son just celebrated eight years out from Fontan Completion. He is 9 and 1/2. His diagnosis is PA, HRHS, and he  has pressure dependent coronaries. Dr. Gaynor was his surgeon. His fenestration was closed when he was three.

Over the coarse of the last five years, he has been experiencing migraine headaches more and more frequently. We are averaging one every two weeks now. We are not alarmists, and we do realize that not every childhood ailment is associated with his CHD. However, in my research of Fontan patients and headaches, I have found links.

Can you explain what it is about their physiology that could result in chronic headaches?
Again, I'm not saying this is the cause; we are also going to have his eyes checked. I am just curious in the connection.
side note:  His blood pressure is perfectly normal.
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It is unclear why patients with Fontan circulation would be more prone to migraine headaches. In some cases migraines have been associated with patent foramen ovales, and a Fontan fenestration would be similar to that.  However, your son's fenestration was closed several years ago.  So that should not be an issue now. It would be important to have your child undergo an official evaluation for headaches (usually through neurology), especially if they are increasing in frequency.  Since he has had open heart surgery and several runs on the heart-lung bypass machine, that has to be considered as there is some alteration of blood flow to the brain during surgery.  Diet can play a role; certain food additives are known to increase headache frequency.  Finally, if there is a family history of headaches, that would be an independent risk factor.  
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