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J Headache Pain. 2009 Aug;10(4):259-63. doi: 10.1007/s10194-009-0129-z. Epub 2009 Jun 3.

Lateralization in cluster headache: a Nordic multicenter study.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Division of Neurology at Karolinska Insitutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


A slight predominance of cluster pain on the right side has been reported in several studies. The aim of this large retrospective Nordic multicenter study was to estimate the prevalence of right- and left-sided pain in cluster headache (CH) patients with side-locked pain, the prevalence of side shifts in episodic and chronic CH patients, and the occurrence of cranial autonomic symptoms related to pain side. Among 383 cluster patients, 55 (14%) had experienced pain side shift. Of the remaining 328 individuals without side shift, there was no significant difference between the occurrence of right-sided and left-sided pain (54 vs. 46%). The prevalence of side shift was similar for episodic and chronic CH and the occurrence of cranial autonomic symptoms was not influenced by the pain side. In conclusion, previous reports of a side difference in location of cluster pain could not be confirmed in this large Nordic sample.

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