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Rev Neurol. 2010 Jul 1;51(1):19-26.

[Stimulation of the occipital nerve in the treatment of drug-resistant cluster headache].

[Article in Spanish]

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Servicio de Neurocirugía, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, 08025 Barcelona, España.



To evaluate the occipital nerve stimulation therapy in as a treatment for drug-resistant cluster headache.


Prospective study of four patients, three males and one female. Mean age of 42 years. Patients complained of a cluster headache lasting between one and 16 years, with suboptimal control of the attacks with medication. In all cases octopolar electrodes were placed percutaneously in the occipital region bilaterally. Follow-up of 6 months.


At 6 months, there was a 56% (range: 25-95%) reduction in the frequency, a 48.8% (range: 20-60%) decrease in the intensity and a 63.8% (range: 0-88.8%) reduction in the duration of the attacks. Worsening or progression of the illness was not observed in any case. All patients referred a 15.4% (range: 6-31.5%) improvement in their quality of life compared to their previous basal situation in SF-36. In all cases but one there was a significant reduction in the amount and dosage of medication required. Postoperative complications were not observed. All patients would recommend the procedure.


Occipital nerve stimulation may be considered a safe and effective therapeutic option in the drug-resistant cluster headache. However, studies with more patients and a longer follow-up are required to evaluate the efficacy of the technique.

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