Headaches in Paediatric Emergency Department - one-year experience at the Children’s Hospital Zagreb

The aim was to determine the aetiology and other associated factors in children presenting with a headache to the Children’s Hospital Zagreb Emergency Department. Data on all emergency department visits during one year, documented in the Hospital Information System were analysed. Among 12,068 children, 1.3% presented with headache (156 in total, 71 boys and 85 girls). The mean age of subjects was 11.43±3.18 (range 3-18) years and girls were older than boys (p<0.001). Most of the patients were adolescents (45%); 71% of the children came as emergency patients and 83.3% were examined during academic year, more on weekends, mostly between 2 pm and 10 pm. The majority of patients (58%) presented within 24 hours, whereas 34% presented after 48 hours of symptom onset, and 48.7% visited emergency department several times for the same type of headache; 29% of the children were admitted and urgent computed tomography was performed only in 3.8% of the patients. The most common aetiology was acute infectious disease (29%), which was more common in younger children and first comers, tension-type headache (17%) and migraine (10%) were more common in older patients and those who repeatedly presented with the same symptom. Primary headaches were present in 32% and secondary headaches in 45% of the children, of which 6 (3.8%) were potentially life-threatening. In 23% of the children, no specific diagnosis was reached. In conclusion, headaches in children presenting to our Emergency Department were mostly benign. The task of the physician is to identify accurately the small number of cases that can be life-threatening and therefore require emergency medical intervention. Key words: CHILDREN; HEADACHE; EMERGENCY SERVICE, HOSPITAL
Category: Original scientific paper
Volume: Vol. 64, No 1, january - march 2020
Authors: Zdenka Pleša Premilovac, Mirta Lamot, Katarina Vulin, Alen Švigir, Iva Topalušić, Mateja Šegović, Lana Ivković
Reference work: Paediatr Croat. 2020;64:14-20
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13112/PC.2020.3

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