The Journal of Headache and Pain

Official Journal of the "European Headache Federation" and of "Lifting The Burden - The Global Campaign against Headache"

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Open Access

A prospective multicentre study to evaluate the consistency of the IHS diagnostic criteria, the usefulness of brain MRI for the diagnosis, follow-up and treatment management, and the outcome after high dosage 6-methylprednisolone therapy, in subjects with Tolosa–Hunt syndrome

  • Silvia Colnaghi1, 2, 3Email author,
  • Maurizio Versino1, 2, 3,
  • Enrico Marchioni1, 2,
  • Cristina Tassorelli1, 2, 3,
  • Stefano Bastianello3, 4,
  • Giorgio Sandrini1, 2, 3 and
  • Giuseppe Nappi1, 2, 5
The Journal of Headache and Pain201011:206

Received: 24 February 2010

Accepted: 2 March 2010

Published: 25 March 2010


Cavernous SinusSteroid TreatmentProspective Multicentre StudyHunt SyndromeHeadache Classification

Dear Editor,

As discussed in a previous review [1], several reasons suggest the need for a revision of diagnostic criteria of the International Headache Classification (IHS) [2] for Tolosa–Hunt syndrome (THS). First of all evidence is lacking on the most appropriate steroid treatment, secondly several reports suggest that neurological signs persist beyond the time limit defined by the IHS criteria. Furthermore, specific MRI techniques are necessary for detecting the inflammatory tissue, which can extend beyond the cavernous sinus and the orbit.

Since data available from the literature mostly derive from case reports which differ in terms of treatment schedules, MRI techniques, and follow-up strategies, IHS diagnostic criteria cannot be improved by adopting an evidence-based methodology. Thus, we are promoting a non-profit multicentre study aimed at revising THS diagnostic criteria, considering (1) the clinical and MRI characteristics of the disease at presentation, after a standardized steroid treatment, and during an 8-month follow-up from the time symptoms, signs and MRI normalize, (2) the occurrence of relapses after treatment discontinuation, and (3) the effect of the lesion site on the outcome.

Any participating centre will be asked to follow a simple management protocol based on serial MRI evaluations. All data will be recorded in case report forms provided by the Coordinator Centre, and no migration of investigators or patients is needed.

The study has received approval from the Ethical Committee of the Coordinator Centre IRCCS “National Neurological Institute C. Mondino” Foundation. All contributors will appear as co-authors of every presentation and/or scientific publication of partial or complete results of the study.

The readers of The Journal of Headache and Pain who are willing to participate can download the Study Summary, a Schematic Diagram and a Time and Event Schedule (available online as supplementary material), and can ask the corresponding author for complete documentation of the study.


Conflict of interest


Authors’ Affiliations

Headache Science Centre, IRCCS National Neurological Institute C. Mondino, Pavia, Italy
UCADH University Centre for Adaptive Disorders and Headache, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy
Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy
Division of Neuroradiology, IRCCS National Neurological Institute C. Mondino, Pavia, Italy
Department of Neurology and ENT, University ‘La Sapienza’, Roma, Italy


  1. Colnaghi S, Versino M, Marchioni E, Pichiecchio A, Bastianello S, Cosi V, Nappi G (2008) ICHD-II diagnostic criteria for Tolosa–Hunt syndrome in idiopathic inflammatory syndromes of the orbit and/or the cavernous sinus. Cephalalgia 28(6):577–584 10.1111/j.1468-2982.2008.01569.x, 1:STN:280:DC%2BD1c3ptFymtg%3D%3DPubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
  2. The International Classification of Headache Disorders ICHD-II (2004) Cephalalgia 24 (Suppl. 1):131Google Scholar


© Springer-Verlag 2010


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