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Cluster Headache: A follow-up study of 60 patients after
an assumed first period of Cluster Headache
C. Sjostrand
Posted November 2000
Cephalagia May 2000

The prognosis of a particular variety of cluster headache (IHS 3.1.1. periodicity undetermined) is largely unknown. During 1981-96, a series of 60 consecutive outpatients were examined in relation to an assumed first period of cluster headache (CH). On follow-up in 1998, we found that 6 patients had died at a mean age of 56.5 years (range 45-74) and that five had one documented CH period only. Six patients were lost to follow-up because they could not be reached. In the final group for evaluation (49 patients), 13 patients (26.5%) had had one cluster period only during a mean observation time of 8.9 years. Out of the 36 patients with definitive CH according to IHS criteria, 31 patients had episodic CH, 4 patients had primary chronic CH and 1 patient had secondary chronic CH. Of the patients with definitive CH on follow-up, 83% had recurrence of CH within 3 years, or continuous attacks (chronic / semichronic CH) from the onset. Evidently, some patients may suffer from one cluster period only. In our patient material, the incidence of a second cluster period after 3 years was 17%.