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New diagnostic criteria for headache attributed to transient ischemic attacks

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BACKGROUND: The International Classification of Headache Disorders diagnostic criteria for Headache Attributed to Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) and many other secondary headaches are based primarily on the opinion of experts. The aim of this study was to field test, for the first time, the diagnostic criteria for headache attributed to TIA of the International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd edition (ICHD-3) and in case of their weaknesses to propose new diagnostic criteria.

METHODS: Consecutive patients with Transient Ischemic Attack and a simultaneous control group were extensively interviewed soon after admission. Data were collected on previous headaches, headaches around the time of Transient Ischemic Attack and characteristics of the TIA using validated neurologist conducted semi-structured interview forms. The evidence of relevant infarction were excluded in patients with Transient Ischemic Attack using magnetic resonance imaging with diffusion-weighted imaging (n = 112) or computed tomography (n = 8).

RESULTS: One hundred twenty patients with Transient Ischemic Attack and 192 controls were included. A new type of headache occurred within 24 h in 16 (13%) of patients with Transient Ischemic Attack and in no controls, a preexisting type of headache with altered characteristics occurred in 9 (7.5%) of patients with Transient Ischemic Attack and no in controls, headache without altered characteristics occurred in 8 (6.6%) of patients with Transient Ischemic Attack and in 9 (4.6%) controls. Only 24% of the headaches in patients with Transient Ischemic Attack (8 of 33 patients) fulfilled the diagnostic criteria of International Classification of Headache Disorders-3 and no control patients. We propose new criteria fulfilled by 94% of the headaches. Specificity remained excellent as only one of 192 controls had a headache fulfilling the proposed criterion C.

CONCLUSIONS: Existing diagnostic criteria for headache attributed to TIA of the International Classification of Headache Disorders are too insensitive. We suggest new diagnostic criteria with high sensitivity and preserved specificity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Headache and Pain Online
Volume20
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)97
Number of pages6
ISSN1129-2377
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sep 2019

ID: 57959484