Retrospective Analysis of 1545 Patients: Neuroimaging in Headache


  • Bahar Say Kirikkale University Faculty of Medicine
  • Ufuk Ergün Kirikkale University Faculty of Medicine
  • Mehmet Tunç Kirikkale University Faculty of Medicine
  • Murat Alpua Kirikkale University Faculty of Medicine
  • Adil Doğan Kirikkale University Faculty of Medicine


Objective: Neuroradiological imaging is also used to differentiate between primary and secondary headaches. The aim of this study was to evaluate retrospectively the significant abnormal neuroradiological imaging results and rates in the primary headache group. In addition, it was also planned to analysis the results of all headaches with imaging and discuss the imaging in the headache with the literature.

Methods: Medical records of headache patients of the neurology outpatient clinic at the tertiary care center were reviewed. Patients who required brain imaging and did not have any disease that could cause pathology in imaging were included. Neuroradiological images were grouped as brain computed tomography (CT), brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and others. Results were normal, significant abnormal findings and others.

Results: Total 1545 patients were included. Primary headache 992, secondary headache 91, painful cranial neuropathies and other headaches were observed in 462 patients. Significant abnormal radiological findings were found to be 4.3% in primary headache, 14.3% in secondary headache, and 6.6% in painful cranial neuropathy and other headaches. Significant findings in primary headache were Arnold Chiari Malformation, sinus thrombosis, intracranial mass, choroid plexus xanthogranuloma, hydrocephalus, vascular malformation.

Conclusion: In this series, the rate of significant findings in neuroradiological imaging in primary headache is low. Secondary headaches require neuroimaging because of the presence of underlying life-threatening causes, although the rate of abnormal neuroradiological imaging is low. History, examination, and red flags in headache may lead to imaging, but patient and physician concerns may also increase imaging rates.

Author Biographies

Bahar Say, Kirikkale University Faculty of Medicine

Department of Neurology

Ufuk Ergün, Kirikkale University Faculty of Medicine

Department of Neurology

Mehmet Tunç, Kirikkale University Faculty of Medicine

Department of Neurology

Murat Alpua, Kirikkale University Faculty of Medicine

Department of Neurology

Adil Doğan, Kirikkale University Faculty of Medicine

Department of Radiology



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