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Med Clin North Am. 2013 Mar;97(2):217-24. doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2012.12.002. Epub 2013 Jan 5.

The role of laboratory testing in the evaluation of headache.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine, Independence, MO 64055, USA.


Blood tests have a minor role in headache management and that role is limited to a few secondary headache conditions. In headache, as with any symptom, laboratory tests should be chosen based on solid clues derived from the targeted history and physical examination. A shotgun approach to blood tests that includes rare diseases or those with low local prevalence frequently yields false-positive results, which exposes the patient to the expense, anxiety, and risk inherent in misdiagnosis. Keep it simple and do not forget about spinal fluid.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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