Open Access

Nontraumatic headache in the Emergency Department: a survey in the province of Trieste

  • G. Relja1,
  • A. Granato1, 2Email author,
  • F. Capozzoli1,
  • C. Maggiore1,
  • M. Catalan1,
  • G. Pizzolato3,
  • W. Zalukar3,
  • V. Livia3,
  • S. Gregorutti3 and
  • M. Zorzon1
The Journal of Headache and Pain20056:213

Published: 20 July 2005


The objective was to study the demographics, diagnostic procedures and therapies employed in order to provide guidelines to Emergency Department (ED) physicians. A six–month retrospective analysis of the records of all patients presenting with nontraumatic headache (NTH) to the EDs of the Province of Trieste was performed. Of 38,238 patients screened, 300 (0.8%) presented with NTH and 49.7% were referred to specialists. Patients were classified as having secondary headache (41.3%), primary headache (24.3%) and headache with no obvious source (NOS) (34.4%). One hundred and seventy patients were treated with mono– or polytherapy. Of 50 patients with migraine, 36 were treated with NSAIDs and 4 with triptans. 68.4% of patients were referred to a general practitioner and 31.6% were admitted. The frequency of NTH was lower than in other studies. NOS headache was frequent. Only 10% of migraineurs received triptans. Diagnostic and therapeutic guidelines for ED physicians are needed.

Key words

Nontraumatic headacheEmergency departmentTreatment