Background and objective: Headache is a common and distressing morbidity associated with day case surgery. We undertook a prospective, observational study to identify risk factors associated with perioperative headache in a modern, day case surgery setting.
Methods: Two hundred-and-thirty consecutive patients presenting for day case surgery were invited to complete a questionnaire about their previous experience of headache and various associated risk factors. Questionnaires were completed by 90% of patients. The presence of headache in the pre- or postoperative period was also documented. We used multivariate logistic regression to model perioperative headache.
Results: Increased frequency of previous headache, odds ratio (95% confidence interval) 1.9 (1.2–2.8) (P = 0.004) and low alcohol consumption 0.90 (0.87–0.98) (P = 0.019) were significant predictors. A history of migraine showed a trend towards being predictive 1.9 (0.9–4.0) (P = 0.055). Some risk factors thought to be important such as caffeine withdrawal and duration of starvation and fluid deprivation were not associated with perioperative headache in this setting.
Conclusions: In this study of risk factors associated with perioperative headache in day case surgery, increased frequency of headache and low alcohol consumption were independent risk factors.