Imaging for Headaches: When is it Appropriate and Which Should be Employed?

February 25, 2020

Which initial imaging procedures are appropriate for different types of headache? Find out in our quick slideshow on the recently released guidelines from the American College of Radiology.

Headaches (HA) are among the most common reasons for which patients see physicians. Patients frequently fear that HA represents a serious, possibly fatal condition. Fortunately, this a rare scenario and most are primary HA for which there is no identifiable underlying etiology and no imaging studies are required.The American College of Radiology (ACR) recently issued a guideline on criteria for initial imaging of patients with HA associated with 7 clinical features. Click through the slides below for a compact review of when to use imaging and which type for assessment of HA associated with: severe and sudden onset, optic disc edema, “red flags,” migraine or tension-type, trigeminal autonomic origin, and chronic headaches with and without new or progressive features.