Nonrhinologic headache in a tertiary rhinology practice

Brian F. Perry, Ivan S. Login, Stilianos E. Kountakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Our goal was to determine the etiology of headache in patients who were referred for sinus evaluation but were found to have no evidence of rhinosinusitis on computed tomography (CT) of the sinuses and on endoscopic examination. METHODS: Data were collected prospectively from 100 patients with headache but with normal sinus CT and endoscopic examination. Headache and 20-Item Sino-Nasal Outcomes Test (SNOT-20) scores of patients with the chief complaint of headache and who requested further neurologic evaluation (group I) were compared with the scores of patients who did not list headache as a significant symptom (group II) and with the scores of patients without headache (group III). RESULTS: The most common neurologic diagnosis for group I patients (n = 36) was migraine headaches (58%). These patients also had higher mean SNOT-20 scores (24 ± 3.3) compared to group II patients with mild headache (14.6 ± 2.3) or group III patients without headache (12.4 ± 2.1). CONCLUSION: Migraine was the most common type of headache in patients with normal sinus CT treated for presumed rhinosinusitis as the cause of the headache. Patients with headache as their chief complaint that required further neurologic evaluation had overall higher SNOT-20 scores than nonheadache patients, indicating greater disability of their overall quality of life index.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-452
Number of pages4
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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