Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 October 2017
Headache is a common presentation in the pediatric emergency department (ED). The majority of pediatric patients presenting to the ED with headache will have a non-life-threatening cause. In order to determine the etiology of the headache, the clinician must take a diligent history and carry out a focused physical exam. Investigations may be required to narrow the differential diagnosis, though in many cases neuroimaging is not required in the acute setting. Headache management will depend on etiology. Although many of the headaches in the pediatric ED are primary headaches, the evidence on how to treat these headaches is limited.
In this chapter, the epidemiology of headache in the pediatric ED will be reviewed. Both detailed and screening approaches to the history and physical exam will be provided. An approach to diagnostic tests and treatment of the primary headaches will be given, incorporating evidence-based recommendations where possible.