Combat-Related Headache and Traumatic Brain Injury

Authors: Waung MW, Abrams GM.

Post-traumatic headache is a commonly described complication of traumatic brain injury. Recent studies highlight differences between headache features of combat veterans who suffered traumatic brain injury compared to civilians. Not surprisingly, there is a higher rate of associated PTSD and sleep disturbances among veterans. Factors of lower socioeconomic status, rank, and multiple head injuries appear to have a similar effect on post-traumatic headache in combat-related traumatic brain injury. Areas of discordance in the literature include the effect of prolonged loss of consciousness and the prevalence of specific headache phenotypes following head trauma. To date, there have been no randomized trials of treatment for post-traumatic headache. This may be related to the variability of headache features and uncertainty of pathophysiologic mechanisms. Given this lack of data, many practitioners follow treatment guidelines for primary headaches. Additionally, because of mounting data linking PTSD to post-traumatic headache in combat veterans, it may be crucial to choose multimodal agents and take a multidisciplinary approach to combat-related headache.

Headache from increased cerebrospinal fluid pressure

Authors: Göbel H, Göbel C, Heinze A.

Increased cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure is often accompanied by headache. The term idiopathic intracranial hypertension (pseudotumor cerebri) describes an increase in CSF pressure without a space-occupying intracranial lesion or hydrocephalus. After headaches, visual field defects are the second most common feature. Therapeutic measures include both drugs and surgical procedures.In high-pressure hydrocephalus, the volume of the CSF is increased, resulting either from increased production or reduced absorption. If an acquired or congenital obstruction of the ventricular system can be demonstrated, the term non-communicating hydrocephalus is used. In contrast, the CSF passage is blocked outside the ventricles in communicating hydrocephalus. Symptoms include diffuse headache worsening in the morning and with the Valsalva-like maneuver. Treatment is guided by etiology whenever possible; otherwise, drainage of CSF by ventriculostomy or shunt is necessary.

Migraine and vascular diseases: A review of the evidence and potential implications for management

Authors: Sacco S, Ricci S, Carolei A.

Introduction: The higher-than-expected incidence of vascular diseases reported in migraineurs suggests that migraine may, in some cases, be a dangerous condition rather than just a distressing but harmless disorder. We provide a systematic review of data linking migraine to vascular diseases.Migraine and vascular diseases: Available data indicate an increased risk of ischemic stroke in subjects suffering from migraine with aura. In addition, evidence suggests an association between migraine with aura and cardiac disease, intracerebral hemorrhage, retinal vasculopathy and mortality that needs to be further corroborated; consequently, for those conditions, migraine with aura can be only considered among the less-well-documented risk factors. As the absolute risk of ischemic stroke in the overall migraineur population is low, subjects suffering from migraine with aura should be made aware of the possible link but not unduly alarmed. It is a common notion that the vascular risk of migraineurs may be further increased by the presence of easily treatable vascular risk factors such as arterial hypertension, cigarette smoking and oral contraceptive use.Conclusions: Forthcoming guidelines should appropriately recommend supporting migraineurs not only with measures aimed at decreasing headache frequency, thus improving quality of life, but also with general measures and preventive strategies aimed to reduce the overall vascular risk. In fact, headache specialists should take care not only of relieving pain but also of assessing and treating concurrent vascular risk factors, while gynecologists, in particular, should routinely consider the presence and type of migraine before prescribing oral contraceptives.

Spontaneous low pressure headache - A review and illustrative patient

Authors: Lahoria R, Allport L, Glenn D, Masters L, Shnier R, Davies M, Hersch M.

Low pressure headache typically occurs as a complication of dural puncture. "Spontaneous" low pressure headache is a relatively rare but under-recognised cause of intractable headache. Clinical suspicion of this condition warrants imaging of the brain to confirm the diagnosis; spinal imaging may be needed to identify the site of the leak. Epidural blood patching may be necessary to seal the leak - CT fluoroscopy may be helpful in delivering the patch directly to the site of the leak. Surgical intervention may be required in intractable cases. We describe a patient with spontaneous intracranial hypotension and review the clinical and radiological features of this syndrome.

Headaches Associated with Papilledema

Authors: Sergott RC.

Headaches associated with papilledema may be both life-threatening as well as vision-threatening. This review will review the following clinical features: (1) the character of headaches associated with increased intracranial pressure; (2) the visual symptoms associated with papilledema; (3) the funduscopic findings of true papilledema versus pseudo-papilledema; (4) the role of ancillary ophthalmological testing such as visual fields and spectral domain optical coherence tomography; (5) the neuro-radiological evaluation of patients with headaches and papilledema; (6) the treatment of vision-threatening papilledema.

Headache in patients with idiopathic intracranial hypertension: a pilot study to assess applicability of ICHD-2 diagnostic criteria

Authors: D'Amico D, Curone M, Faragò G, Mea E, Tullo V, Proietti A, Marzoli SB, Ciasca P, Bussone G.

Headache is one of the most common symptoms of idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). The aim of this study was to investigate the applicability of the diagnostic criteria for "Headache attributed to IIH" included in the current classification of headache disorders, particularly as far as the main headache features. A consecutive clinical series of IIH patients with demonstration of increased intracranial pressure by lumbar puncture in the recumbent position were enrolled. Among a total of 22 patients, headache was reported by 14. The proportion of patients reporting the main headache features required by diagnostic criteria were: 93 % for daily or nearly-daily occurrence; 71.5 % for diffuse/non-pulsating pain; 57 % for aggravation by coughing/straining. Thus, these three headache features, at least one of which is required for diagnosis of headache attributed to IIH, were present in the vast majority of our sample, suggesting that their inclusion should be regarded as appropriate. The analysis of our results may suggest possible changes in the current ICDH-2 criteria for headache attributed to IIH, based on the following considerations: the existence of remarkable differences as far as the relative frequency of each headache feature; the fact that diffuse and non-pulsating pain-included in the current classification as a single requirement-were not always found together; the high frequency of migrainous associated symptoms (nausea or photophobia-phonophobia were present in 71.5 % cases).


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