Headache "Red Flags"
"Red flags" for the presence of serious underlying disorders as a cause of acute or subacute headache can be remembered by using the mnemonic SNOOP:
Systemic symptoms or illness (including fever, persistent or progressive vomiting, stiff neck, pregnancy, cancer, immunocompromised state, anticoagulated);
Neurologic signs or symptoms (including altered mental status, focal neurologic symptoms or signs, seizures, or papilledema);
Onset is new (especially in those age 40 years or older) or sudden;
Other associated conditions (eg, headache is subsequent to head trauma, awakens patient from sleep, or is worsened by Valsalva maneuvers);
Prior headache history that is different (eg, headaches now are of different pattern or are rapidly progressive in severity or frequency).
When such red flags are present, neuroimaging (computed tomography [CT] or MRI) is indicated to investigate secondary causes of headache.
Cite this: Case 13: A Man With Progressive Headache and Confusion - Medscape - Jul 26, 2006.