Headache types, related morbidity, and quality of life in survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia: a prospective cross sectional study.

  • Sadighi Z
  • Ness K
  • Hudson M
 et al. 
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BACKGROUND Increased headache prevalence was recently reported in survivors of childhood ALL. Headache sub types, related morbidity, and effect on quality of life has not been reported thus far. OBJECTIVE To study headache prevalence and type, related disability, and quality of life in a cohort of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) survivors. METHODS Childhood ALL survivors in at least 1-year of remission and 5 years from diagnosis completed questionnaires and were evaluated by a neurologist. Disability was evaluated with Pediatric Migraine Disability Assessment scale and the Short Form-36 Health Survey assessed quality of life. RESULTS Thirty nine of 72 (54%) females and 37 of 90 (41%) males reported headaches. Median time from ALL diagnosis to first headache was 5.2 years and median age at headache onset was 10.1 years in 76 participants with headache. Migraine headaches were diagnosed in 51 (31%) and episodic tension-type headaches in 49 (30%); migraine and tension-type headaches co-existed in 24 (15%) and 18 (11%) participants had chronic daily headaches. Fatigue was associated with migraine headache while hypertension and female gender associated with tension type headache. Headache-related disability was mild in 22 (29%), moderate in 7 (9%), and severe in 5 (7%) survivors, and was absent in the remaining 42 (55%) survivors with headache. Both migraine and tension type headaches associated with reduced mental component scores, while headache related disability associated with a reduced physical component scores. CONCLUSIONS Headaches are common in ALL survivors but only a minority has significant disability or impairment of quality of life.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
  • Childhood
  • Headaches
  • Long-term survivor
  • Morbidity
  • Quality of life

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  • Zsila S Sadighi

  • Kirsten K Ness

  • Melissa M Hudson

  • E Brannon Morris

  • Davonna S Ledet

  • Ching-Hon Pui

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