[Analysis of the headaches treated in emergency neurology departments].Rev Neurol. 2005 Jun 1-15; 40(11):648-51.RN
INTRODUCTION AND AIMS
Headache is the main cause of visits to the emergency neurology department at our hospital. We perform a descriptive analysis of the patients who visited the Emergency department because of this pathology and who required neurological assessment according to the International Headache Society's new classification of headaches.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
A retrospective study based on 6 months' observation was conducted in order to analyse patients' diagnosis, age, sex, recurring visits to the Emergency department, complementary tests, day and time of visit to the Emergency service, as well as the destination according to their diagnosis.
There was a predominance of females (56.3%). The most frequent diagnosis is tension-type headache, although patients who most often recur are those with the most intense pain (cluster headache) and those with some psychiatric disorder. Cranial computerised axial tomography (CAT) scans were performed in 44% of cases, and spinal taps in only 8%. Visits are most frequent on Mondays.
The percentage of secondary headaches that were diagnosed thanks to the presence of an on-call neurologist is very high: 13.36% of the evaluations requested. The headaches that most frequently require evaluation are generally the most prevalent: migraine without aura and tension-type headache. The presence of an on-call neurologist reduces the number of patients admitted to hospital because of this pathology by over 50%.