How is cluster headache (CH) diagnosed?

Updated: Jun 07, 2019
  • Author: Michelle Blanda, MD; Chief Editor: Tarakad S Ramachandran, MBBS, MBA, MPH, FAAN, FACP, FAHA, FRCP, FRCPC, FRS, LRCP, MRCP, MRCS  more...
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Answer

The diagnosis of cluster headache (CH) is based on historical and physical findings. A history of attacks that occur with the characteristic periodicity and rhythmicity is the key to the diagnosis. Laboratory studies are not of particular value in this regard.

Imaging studies, though not diagnostic, are useful for excluding other potential causes of headache in selected patients. Neuroimaging with assessment of the intracranial and cervical vasculature and the sellar and paranasal region is recommended in all patients with atypical presentations of trigeminal autonomic headaches.


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