Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury Linked to Headaches

Prevalence of headache related to patient's gender, age, time after injury, and injury severity

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) is associated with increased prevalence of headaches three months after injury, which, in turn, are related to patient's age, gender, and severity of injury, according to a study published online Dec. 5 in Pediatrics.

Heidi K. Blume, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues investigated the prevalence of headache in children, aged 5 to 17 years, three and 12 months after mild TBI (mTBI, 402 children) and moderate/severe TBI (60 children), and compared it with controls who had arm injuries (AI, 122 children).

The investigators found that, compared with arm injury, there was a significantly higher prevalence of headache three months after mTBI overall (43 versus 26 percent; relative risk [RR], 1.7), in adolescents aged 13 to 17 years (46 versus 25 percent; RR, 1.8), and in girls (59 versus 24 percent; RR, 2.4). At three months, for younger children, aged 5 to 12 years, the prevalence of headache was higher after moderate/severe TBI versus AI (60 versus 27 percent; RR, 2.0). No association was found between TBI and significantly increased frequency of headache 12 months after injury. A serious headache rating (≥5 of 10 on a pain scale) was more commonly reported by girls with mTBI than controls (27 versus 10 percent).

"A substantial number of children suffer from headaches months after their head injury," the authors write.

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