Diagnostic criteria currently proposed for "ictal epileptic headache": Perspectives on strengths, weaknesses and pitfalls

Pasquale Parisi, Alberto Verrotti, Paola Costa, Pasquale Striano, Caterina Zanus, Marco Carrozzi, Umberto Raucci, Maria Pia Villa, Vincenzo Belcastro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose When we published the diagnostic criteria for "ictal epileptic headache" in 2012, we deliberately and consciously chose to adopt restrictive criteria that probably underestimate the phenomenon, rather than spread panic among patients and physicians who are reluctant to accept this entity. Methods Here we discuss four intriguing clinical cases to highlight why we believe, to this day, that it is necessary to follow these restrictive diagnostic criteria. Conclusions EEG is not recommended as a routine examination for children diagnosed with headache, but it is mandatory and must be carried out promptly in cases of prolonged headache that does not respond to antimigraine drugs, if epilepsy is suspected or has been diagnosed previously. This is not a marginal or irrelevant question because possible isolated, non-motor, ictal manifestations should be taken into account before declaring that an epileptic patient is "seizure free" so as to ensure that any decision taken to suspend anticonvulsant therapy is safe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-63
Number of pages8
JournalSeizure
Volume31
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2015

Keywords

  • Autonomic seizures
  • Autonomic status epilepticus
  • Epilepsy
  • Headache
  • Ictal epileptic headache
  • Migraine
  • Status migrainosus
  • Tension-type headache

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology

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