What are the IHS diagnostic criteria for trigeminal neuralgia (TN)?

Updated: Jul 11, 2019
  • Author: Manish K Singh, MD; Chief Editor: Robert A Egan, MD  more...
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Answer

Strict criteria for trigeminal neuralgia as defined by the International Headache Society (IHS) (International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd ed) in 2004 are as follows [1] :

  • A - Paroxysmal attacks of pain lasting from a fraction of a second to 2 minutes, affecting 1 or more divisions of the trigeminal nerve and fulfilling criteria B and C

  • B - Pain has at least 1 of the following characteristics: (1) intense, sharp, superficial or stabbing; or (2) precipitated from trigger areas or by trigger factors

  • C - Attacks stereotyped in the individual patient

  • D - No clinically evident neurologic deficit

  • E - Not attributed to another disorder

The criteria for symptomatic trigeminal neuralgia vary slightly from the strict criteria above and include the following [1] :

  • A - Paroxysmal attacks of pain lasting from a fraction of a second to 2 minutes, with or without persistence of aching between paroxysms, affecting 1 or more divisions of the trigeminal nerve and fulfilling criteria B and C

  • B - Pain has at least 1 of the following characteristics: (1) intense, sharp, superficial or stabbing; or (2) precipitated from trigger areas or by trigger factors

  • C - Attacks stereotyped in the individual patient

  • D - A causative lesion, other than vascular compression, demonstrated by special investigations and/or posterior fossa exploration


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