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Arch Intern Med. 2004 Sep 13;164(16):1769-72.

Prevalence of migraine in patients with a history of self-reported or physician-diagnosed "sinus" headache.

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Headache Care Center, Springfield, MO, USA.



Symptoms referable to the sinus area are frequently reported during migraine attacks, but are not recognized in diagnostic criteria. Underrecognition of migraine may be partly attributed to a variable clinical presentation, and migraines with "sinus" symptoms contribute to this problem. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of migraine-type headache (International Headache Society [IHS]-defined migraine without aura [IHS 1.1], migraine with aura [IHS 1.2], or migrainous disorder [IHS 1.7]) in patients with a history of self-described or physician-diagnosed "sinus" headache.


During a clinic visit, patients with a history of "sinus" headache, no previous diagnosis of migraine, and no evidence of infection were assigned an IHS headache diagnosis on the basis of headache histories and reported symptoms.


A total of 2991 patients were screened. The majority (88%) of these patients with a history of self-described or physician-diagnosed "sinus" headache were diagnosed at the screening visit as fulfilling IHS migraine criteria (80% of patients) or migrainous criteria (8% of patients). The most common symptoms referable to the sinus area reported by patients at screening were sinus pressure (84%), sinus pain (82%), and nasal congestion (63%).


In this study, 88% of patients with a history of "sinus" headache were determined to have migraine-type headache. In patients with recurrent headaches without fever or purulent discharge, the presence of sinus-area symptoms may be part of the migraine process. Migraine should be included in the differential diagnosis of these patients.

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