Emergent Causes of Headache and Associated Risk Factors
Carbon ...

Emergent Causes of Headache and Associated Risk Factors

Carbon monoxide poisoning

 - Breathing in enclosed or confined spaces with engine exhaust or ventilation of heating equipment

 - Multiple household members with the same symptoms

 - Wintertime and working around machinery or equipment producing carbon monoxide (eg, furnaces)

Meningitis, encephalitis, abscess

 - History of sinus or ear infection or recent surgical procedure

 - Immunocompromised state

 - General debilitation with decreased immunologic system function

 - Acute febrile illness—any type

 - Extremes of age

 - Impacted living conditions (eg, military barracks, college dormitories)

 - Lack of primary immunization

Temporal arteritis

 - Age > 50

 - Females more often than males (4:1)

 - History of other collagen vascular diseases (eg, systemic lupus)

 - Previous chronic meningitis

 - Previous chronic illness, such as tuberculosis, parasitic or fungal infection

Glaucoma—acute angle closure

 - Not associated with any usual or customary headache patterns

 - History of previous glaucoma

 - Age >30

 - History of pain increasing in a dark environment

Increased intracranial pressure

 - History of previous benign intracranial hypertension

 - Presence of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunt

 - History of congenital brain or skull abnormalities

 - Female gender

 - Obesity

Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis

 - Female gender

 - Pregnancy, peripartum, hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptive use

 - Prothrombotic conditions

Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome

 - Episodic sudden severe pain, with or without focal neurological findings or seizure

 - Recurrent episodes over a period up to several weeks

 - Exposure to adrenergic or serotonergic drugs

 - Postpartum state

Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH)

 - Sudden and severe pain; "worst headache of life"

 - Acute severe pain after sexual intercourse or exertion

 - History of SAH or cerebral aneurysm

 - History of polycystic kidney disease

 - Family history of SAH

 - Hypertension—severe

 - Previous vascular lesions in other areas of the body

 - Young and middle-aged

Subdural hematoma

 - History of alcohol dependency with or without trauma

 - Current use of anticoagulation

Epidural hematoma

 - Traumatic injury

 - Lucid mentation followed by acute altered mentation or somnolence

 - Anisocoria on physical examination

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