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Simple and Efficient Recognition of
Migraine With 3-Question Headache Screen
Cady, RK, Borchert LD, Spalding W., et al
Posted: June 2004
Objective: To correlate the results of
a new 3-question headache screen to 3 established methods of
diagnosing migraine: the International Headache Society diagnostic
criteria, physician’s clinical impression, and presence of
recurring disabling headaches.
Background: A simple tool to recognize patients
who experience migraine may facilitate diagnosis of this debilitating
and frequently undiagnosed condition.
Methods: Primary care physicians and neurologists
in the United States enrolled 3014 adults with a diagnosis of
migraine based on one of the following: International Headache
Society criteria, an investigator’s clinical impression, or
presence of recurring disabling headaches. Each patient completed
a 3-question headache screen: (1) Do you have recurrent headaches
that interfere with work, family, or social functions? (2) Do your
headaches last at least 4 hours? (3) Have you had new or different
headaches in the past 6 months? A diagnosis of migraine was suggested
by a yes answer to questions 1 and 2 and a no answer to question 3.
Results: The 3-question headache screen identified
migraine in 77% of the study population; including 78% of the
patients enrolled based on International Headache Society criteria,
74% based on clinical impression, and 68% because of recurring
Conclusions: Positive 3-question headache screen
results agreed well with migraine diagnoses based on International
Headache Society criteria, clinical impressions, and presence of
recurring disabling headaches. These findings support use of the
3-question headache screen to recognize migraine.