Cluster headache and paroxysmal hemicrania: differential diagnosis.
The utility of the differences between cluster headache (CH) and paroxysmal hemicrania (PH) is limited by the considerable overlap of their clinical characteristics. We compared 54 patients with CH and eight patients with PH in terms of demographic features, characteristics of headache attacks, associated autonomic features, temporal forms of disorders, and response to verapamil. According to our results, clinical features that distinguished CH and PH patients were: maximal pain localization, ocular in CH patients and extra-ocular in PH group; mean attack duration was longer and mean attack frequency was lower in CH patients in comparison with PH patients. Conjuctival injection was the only autonomic sign seen more frequently in CH patients. There were more CH patients with episodic and more PH patients with unremitting form of the disorder in examined groups. Although statistical analysis pointed out a significant difference between these clinical features, there was no clinical characteristic that exclusively belonged to one of these headache entities. Demographic characteristics (age, gender, social background), the other headache attack features (nocturnal attacks, interattack tenderness), the other autonomic signs, as well as the response to verapamil did not differ significantly between two groups.