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The Utility of Neuroimaging in the Evaluation
of Children With Migraine or Chronic Daily
Headache Who Have Normal Neurological Examination
Donald W. Lewis, MD; David Dorbad, BS
Posted Nov 2000
HEADACHE, September 2000

Objective: To assess the utility of neuroimaging in the evaluation of children presenting with two of the most common forms of headache, migraine and chronic daily headache, and to determine the utility and pathological yield of neuroimaging in specific headache syndromes in children whose neurological examinations are normal.

Conclusion: The yield of neuroimaging in children with uncomplicated migraine and normal neurological examination was 3.7%. The yield in children with chronic daily headache and normal neurological examination was higher at 16.6%. The abnormalities discovered included arachnoid cysts, Chiari I malformations, sinus disease, occult vascular malformations and "dilated Virchow-Robin spaces". While none of the neuroimaging findings were apparent clinically, their discovery did not influence the diagnosis, management, or outcome of the patients. None of the abnormalities necessitated surgical intervention or were associated with the headache presentation. Therefore, neuroimaging is not warranted in children and adolescents with defined clinical headache syndrome diagnoses whose neurological examinations are normal.