Rhinogenic headache in pediatric and adolescent patients: an evidence-based review.
International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology
BACKGROUND: Although some causes of rhinogenic headache, such as acute sinusitis, have clear diagnostic criteria, others, such as "sinus headache" and mucosal contact points, are more nebulous. Misdiagnosis of these entities and primary headaches may result in unnecessary medical or surgical treatment. The purpose of this systematic review is to delineate current understanding of diagnosis and treatment of rhinogenic headaches, including sinus and mucosal contact point headaches, in children.
METHODS: PubMed, SCOPUS, and the Cochrane databases were searched for studies on sinus headache and mucosal contact point headaches in children. Studies were assessed for level of evidence, and risk of bias was assessed by Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies (MINORS) scoring. Diagnostic criteria, management strategies, and other clinical data were analyzed.
RESULTS: Eight studies met the inclusion criteria. Level of evidence was predominantly 4. Forty percent of pediatric patients with migraine had been previously misdiagnosed with sinus headache. Of 327 pediatric patients in two studies, between 55% and 73% had at least 1 cranial autonomic symptom associated with their migraine. For children with mucosal contact point headaches, surgical management in select patients improved headache intensity or severity in 17 (89%) cases.
CONCLUSION: The majority of pediatric patients with sinus headache harbor a primary headache disorder, with migraine being most common. Physicians should suspect primary headache disorders in pediatric patients with chronic headaches and a normal exam. Although some case series are supportive of surgical management for mucosal contact point headaches in children, the level of evidence supporting these recommendations is insufficient. High-quality clinical trials are necessary for continuing to improve outcomes in patients with these clinical entities.
Smith BC, George LC, Svider PF, Nebor I, Folbe AJ, Sheyn A, Johnson AP, Eloy JA. Rhinogenic headache in pediatric and adolescent patients: an evidence-based review. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2019 May;9(5):443-451. doi: 10.1002/alr.22268. Epub 2019 Jan 15. PMID: 30644652.