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Simple and Efficient Recognition of Migraine With 3-Question Headache Screen

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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 disabling headaches.

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.
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Keywords: diagnosis; migraine; questionnaire

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2004

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