Diagnosis of migraine in children attending a pediatric headache clinic

Headache. 1999 Jul-Aug;39(7):481-5. doi: 10.1046/j.1526-4610.1999.3907481.x.


The International Headache Society (IHS) criteria for migraine are not sufficient to diagnose migraine in children. Specifically, the duration and localization of the headache are different in children and adults with migraine. This study compared the formal IHS criteria with pediatric-amended IHS criteria and IHS criteria with the duration factor removed in children younger than 18 years. In addition, the older criteria by Vahlquist and by Prensky and Sommer were also compared. Finally, clinical diagnosis of migraine was compared with IHS criteria with the duration factor removed. The study showed that many children with a shorter duration headache have migraine and also that a number of children with a very long duration of headaches still fit the diagnosis of migraine. Unilateral headache is quite uncommon. The majority of children with migraine complained of bilateral headaches. It is concluded that the IHS criteria for pediatric migraine should be revised. We suggest making the duration factor a minor criteria for migraine in children or to exclude headaches lasting longer than 72 hours only in children younger than 15 years.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Migraine Disorders / classification
  • Migraine Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Migraine Disorders / genetics
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Risk Factors