How and when to refer patients diagnosed with secondary headache and other craniofacial pain in the Emergency Department and Primary Care: Recommendations of the Spanish Society of Neurology's Headache Study Group

Neurologia. 2020 Jun;35(5):323-331. doi: 10.1016/j.nrl.2017.08.002. Epub 2017 Sep 1.
[Article in En, Spanish]

Abstract

Introduction: When secondary headache is suspected and the patient is referred to the emergency department or to the outpatient neurology clinic, it is important to know which are the appropriate complementary examinations to perform and the suitable referral pathway for patients to follow. In order to establish recommendations on this matter, the Spanish Society of Neurology's Headache Study Group (GECSEN) has decided to issue a series of agreed recommendations constituting a referral protocol for patients with headache and/or craniofacial neuralgias.

Development: Young neurologists with an interest and experience in headache were invited to draft a series of practical guidelines in collaboration with GECSEN's Executive Committee. For practical reasons, the document was divided into 2 articles: the first focuses on primary headaches and craniofacial neuralgias and this second article on secondary headaches and other craniofacial pain. In order for the recommendations to be helpful for daily practice, they follow a practical approach, with tables summarising referral criteria, examinations to be performed, and referral to other specialists.

Conclusions: We hope to offer a guide and tools to improve decision-making regarding patients with headache, identifying complementary tests to prioritise and referral pathways to be followed, in order to avoid duplicated consultations and delayed diagnosis and treatment.

Keywords: Atención Primaria; Cefalea; Complementary tests; Craniofacial pain; Derivación; Dolor craneofacial; Emergency Department; Headache; Patient referral; Primary Care; Pruebas complementarias; Urgencias.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Facial Pain / diagnosis*
  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • Headache / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Neuralgia / diagnosis
  • Neurology
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Spain
  • Specialization