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Emerg Med Pract. 2019 Feb;21(2):1-20. Epub 2019 Feb 1.

Evaluation and management of life-threatening headaches in the emergency department.

Author information

1
Assistant Program Director, Emergency Medicine Residency, Hackensack University Medical and Trauma Center; Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, Hackensack, NJ.
2
Emergency Medicine Clinical Pharmacist, Department of Pharmacy, Hackensack University Medical and Trauma Center; Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, Hackensack, NJ.
3
Assistant Program Director, Emergency Medicine Residency, Hackensack University Medical and Trauma Center; Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall Medical School, Hackensack, NJ.

Abstract

Headache is the fourth most common reason for emergency department encounters, accounting for 3% of all visits in the United States. Though troublesome, 90% are relatively benign primary headaches --migraine, tension, and cluster headaches. The other 10% are secondary headaches, caused by separate underlying processes, with vascular, infectious, or traumatic etiologies, and they are potentially life-threatening. This issue details the important pathophysiologic features of the most common types of life-threatening headaches, the key historical and physical examination information emergency clinicians must obtain, the red flags that cannot be missed, and the current evidence for best-practice testing, imaging, treatment, and disposition.

PMID:
30676714

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