Characteristics of headache in children with epilepsy

Seizure. 2013 Oct;22(8):647-50. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2013.04.022. Epub 2013 May 20.


Purpose: The association of headache with seizures is well known to neurologists but poorly understood. The purpose of this prospective study was to evaluate the types and frequency of seizure-associated headaches among pediatric patients with epilepsy, and to identify their risk factors with special attention to the anatomic localization of the epileptogenic focus and seizure classification.

Methods: Patients with focal and generalized active seizures and on treatment at the time of questionnaire administration were included. Patients were prospectively interviewed by questionnaire as to whether or not they suffered from headaches associated with epileptic seizures.

Results: Of 98 patients (age range: 5-18 years), 34 (34.7%) complained of seizure-associated headaches. In patients with seizure-associated headaches, headache was significantly more frequent (31/74, 41.9%) with partial seizures than with generalized seizures (3/24, 12.5%; p=0.012). The frequency of seizure attacks was 4.1 times per year in patients with seizure-associated headache and 1.3 times per year in those with non-seizure-associated headache. Of the 34 patients, 20 (58.8%) complained of headache at the frontal region.

Conclusions: The location of headache was not always in agreement with electroencephalographic focus. Headache was more frequent in patients with partial epilepsy and frequent seizures.

Keywords: Children; Epilepsy; Frequent seizures; Headache; Partial seizure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy / complications*
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Headache / complications
  • Headache / diagnosis*
  • Headache / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires