Acute headache may be a medical emergency
Acute headache can be a medical emergency because it may be a sign of subarachnoid hemorrhage (brain bleeding) which can result in devastating injury or death. When a patient has an acute headache, tests are needed to determine whether it is being caused by bleeding in the brain. Tests include CT scan and lumbar puncture.
A new research study has found that certain signs and symptoms that accompany acute headache are predictive of a brain hemorrhage.
Patients who present with nontraumatic headaches that peak within 1 hour and who have any of the following signs and symptoms must be assessed for dangerous brain hemorrhage:
* 1: Patient is over age 40, complaint of neck pain or stiffness, witnessed loss of consciousness, onset of headache with exertion. or
* 2: Patient arrives at hospital by ambulance, age over 45, vomiting at least once, diastolic blood pressure greater than 100 mm Hg. or
* 3: Patient arrives at hospital by ambulance, systolic blood pressure over 160 mm Hg, complaint of neck pain or stiffness, age 45–55
If you have any concerns that you or a loved one has been misdiagnosed or that medical personnel failed to diagnose a brain hemmorhage, contact Berger & Lagnese for a free, no obligation consultation.