To Screen for Migraines, Try Using Two Brief Surveys

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO -- Busy clinicians now have at least two simple, three-question screening tools for migraine headaches.

One screening survey, recently given to 3,014 patients with migraine headaches, had an overall sensitivity of 77% for diagnosing migraine if patients answered, "yes" to the first two questions and, "no" to the third:

1. Do you have recurrent headaches that interfere with work, family, or social function?

2. Do your headaches last at least 4 hours if untreated?

3. Have you had new or different headaches in the past 6 months?

The specialty of the physician asking the questions did not affect the sensitivity of the tool: 74% were primary care physicians, 21% were neurologists, and the specialty was unknown for 5%, Dr. Roger K. Cady reported in a poster presentation at the annual meeting of the American Neurological Association.

Patients were being seen in private practices for migraines as defined by International Headache Society (IHS) criteria in 79% of patients, by clinical impression in 18%, and by the presence of recurring, disabling headaches in 3%. …