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To investigate the nature of the headache accompanying aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, a retrospective study was conducted. Fifty-four patients and 54 controls completed questionnaires regarding headache, medical history, and family history, in an attempt to derive further information regarding symptoms and factors that might be predictive of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. Factors that appear to be of importance in evaluating headache caused by subarachnoid hemorrhage include ominously severe headache, a history of vigorous physical activity precipitating headache, syncope or transient lethargy accompanying headache, previous medical attention for headache, a family history of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, or catastrophic central nervous system event at an early age. An algorithm for the management of serious headache is suggested.
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