Temporal distribution of emergency room visits in patients with migraine and other headaches

TitleTemporal distribution of emergency room visits in patients with migraine and other headaches
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsGarcía-Azorín, D., J. Abelaira-Freire, E. Rodriguez-Adrada, N. González-García, Á. Planchuelo-Gómez, Á. L. Guerrero, J. Porta-Etessam, and F. J. Martín-Sánchez
JournalExpert Review of Neurotherapeutics

Background: Headache is a leading reason for presentation to the emergency department (ED) with migraine being the most frequently headache. To ensure the adequate staffing of healthcare providers during peak times of headache visits, we analyzed the temporal distribution of emergency department visits in patients presenting with headache and/or migraine.

Research design and methods: The authors conducted an ecological study, including all consecutive visits to the ED for headache. Patients were classified according to the IHS Classification. We analyzed circadian, circaseptan and circannual patterns for number of visits, comparing migraine patients with other headache patients.

Results: There were 2132 ED visits for headache, including primary headache in 1367 (64.1%) cases; migraine in 963 (45.2%); secondary headache in 404 (18.9%); and unspecified headache in 366 (17.1%). The circadian pattern showed peaks around 11:00–13:00 and 17:00–19:00, with visits during the night shift 45% less frequent (p < 0.001). The circaseptan pattern showed a peak on Monday-Tuesday and a low point on Sunday (p < 0.007). The circannual pattern peaked in March and decreased in June.

Conclusions: ED visits for headache showed specific circadian, circaseptan and circannual variations. No differences were found in these patterns when comparing migraine patients to other headache patients.