Volume 65, Issue 10 (2 2008)                   Tehran Univ Med J 2008, 65(10): 20-23 | Back to browse issues page

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Saberi H, Zohrei H.R, Abdollahi A. R. Prevalence of abnormal brain CT- scan findings in patients with headache: two year study in Imam Khomeini Hospital. Tehran Univ Med J 2008; 65 (10) :20-23
URL: http://tumj.tums.ac.ir/article-1-712-en.html
Abstract:   (7497 Views)

Background: Headache is one of the most common problems that bring patients to doctors' offices. Many physicians order neuroimaging studies after taking the history of the patient and performing a physical examination. These neuroimaging studies are often requested due to the probable existence of an intracranial lesion. However, at times they are requested to allay the fears of patients or even doctors. Most of these studies are normal and the question arises whether there is any indication for requesting neuroimaging studies for a patient with an isolated headache.

Methods: We studied 146 patients with headache who had been referred for CT scan to the imaging center of Imam Khomeini Hospital during 2004-2005. For each patient, a questionnaire, including the medical history and accompanying neurological symptoms, was filled out and CT scan results were gathered.

Results: The mean of age of the patients was 37.8 years, and 69% were female. Only 10 patients (6.8%) had a brain lesion in the CT scan. Accompanying neurological symptoms were more frequent in patients with abnormal rather than normal CT scans. There was a meaningful correlation between abnormal CT scan and paresthesia, ptosis, paresia, diplopia, visual loss, convulsion, vomiting and vertigo. A statistical correlation existed between gender and positive CT scan.

Conclusions: Many patients with headache have normal brain CT scan results. Thus, better criteria are warranted for requesting neuroimaging including accurate patient history and neurological examination in order to prevent unnecessary radiation exposure. MRI instead of CT scan would be a better first step toward the evaluation of the possible existence of brain lesions.

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