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Acute headache attributed to ischemic stroke: assessment of its characteristics and associated factors

posted on 2023-05-20, 07:10 authored by Felipe Araújo Andrade de Oliveira, Mário Genuíno Dourado-Filho, Pedro Augusto Sampaio Rocha-Filho

Abstract Background It is estimated that headache attributed to ischemic stroke occurs in 7.4% to 34% of the cases. Despite its frequency, this headache has been little studied in terms of its risk factors and characteristics. Objective To assess the frequency and clinical characteristics of headache attributed to ischemic stroke and the factors associated with its occurrence. Methods The present was a cross-sectional study which included patients consecutively admitted within 72 hours of the onset of ischemic stroke. A semi-structured questionnaire was used. The patients underwent magnetic resonance imaging. Results A total of 221 patients were included, 68.2% of whom were male, and the mean age was of 68.2 ± 13.8 years. The frequency of headache attributed to ischemic stroke was of 24.9% (95% confidence interval [95%CI]: 19.6-31.1%). The headache had a median duration of 21 hours and most frequently began at the same time as the focal deficit (45.3%), with a gradual onset (83%). It was of moderate intensity, pulsatile (45.3%), bilateral (54.6%), and presented a similar pattern to that of tension-type headache (53.6%). Headache attributed to stroke was significantly associated with previous tension-type headache, and previous migraine with and without aura (logistic regression). Conclusion Headache attributed to stroke is common, with a pattern similar to that of tension-type headache, and it is associated with a history of tension-type and migraine headaches.