Population-based prevalence of cranial autonomic symptoms in migraine and proposed diagnostic appendix criteria


BACKGROUND: Migraine with cranial autonomic symptoms is well described in the literature, but its prevalence in previous studies varies enormously. A precise estimate of the prevalence in a population-based material is important because migraine with cranial autonomic symptoms might represent an endophenotype, in which genetic and pathophysiological features differ from those without cranial autonomic features. The aim of the present study, therefore, was to estimate the prevalence in a big population-based sample using both questionnaire-based diagnosis (N = 12,620) and interview-based diagnosis (N = 302). We validate questionnaire-based diagnosis of migraine with cranial autonomic symptoms and develop the first diagnostic criteria for future research of this possible endophenotype.

METHODS: The Danish Blood Donor Study included 127,802 persons who all received a migraine diagnostic questionnaire. Participants who had answered the diagnostic questionnaire constituted the Danish Migraine Population Cohort (N = 62,677) of whom 12,620 had migraine. The diagnostic migraine questionnaire included questions about the following cranial autonomic symptoms: Facial/forehead sweating, lacrimation, ptosis, conjunctival injection, rhinorrhea, nasal congestion, and miosis. Validation was performed by a follow-up semi-structured, purpose-built interview of 302 participants with migraine, where detailed questions were asked to ascertain the validity of the symptoms.

RESULTS: The questionnaire-based prevalences of one, respectively two cranial autonomic symptoms were 57% and 31%. The semi-structured interview-based prevalences of one, respectively two symptoms were 44% and 22%. The most common symptoms were facial/forehead sweating (39%) and lacrimation (24%). The specificity of the questionnaire was 80% and the sensitivity was 68%. Correlation analysis showed a weak correlation between symptoms ranging from 0.07 - 0.41, and no clear clustering of symptoms was detected. We suggest the first diagnostic appendix criteria for genetic and epidemiological studies and tighter criteria for clinical and pathophysiological studies. We encourage further studies of severity and consistency of symptoms.

CONCLUSION: Migraine with cranial autonomic symptoms is prevalent in the general population. Suggested diagnostic appendix criteria are important for future studies of this possible migraine endophenotype.

TidsskriftCephalalgia : an international journal of headache
Udgave nummer11-12
Sider (fra-til)1160-1171
Antal sider12
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2022


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