Incidental neuroimaging findings in nonacute headache


Incidental neuroimaging findings in nonacute headache


Graf WD; Kayyali HR; Abdelmoity AT; Womelduff GL; Williams AR; Morriss MC


Journal Of Child Neurology




Child; Cross-Sectional Studies; Female; Humans; Male; Cohort Studies; Comorbidity; adolescent; Preschool; retrospective studies; Headache Disorders/epidemiology/pathology/radiography; Incidental Findings; Nervous System Malformations/epidemiology/pathology/radiography


We studied the frequency and consequences of incidental neuroimaging findings in 400 otherwise healthy, nonacute pediatric headache patients through a retrospective, cross-sectional analysis. We excluded patients with currently recommended clinical criteria to consider diagnostic neuroimaging. We categorized neuroimaging results as normal, remarkable without clinical action, remarkable with clinical follow-up action, and abnormal. One hundred eighty-five of 400 patients (46%) had neuroimaging. Of these, 78.4% of neuroimaging studies were normal, and none was considered abnormal. Also, 21.5% had remarkable findings in the neuroradiology report. The frequency and types of all incidental findings were generally comparable to previous studies. One third of these patients received further consultation or neuroimaging because of incidental findings. In the evaluation of nonacute pediatric headache, overuse of neuroimaging leads to frequent discovery of incidental findings and increased testing. Individualized health care calls for physician-consumer discussions about current indications for neuroimaging, the general frequency of incidental findings, and potential difficulties in their interpretation.


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Graf WD; Kayyali HR; Abdelmoity AT; Womelduff GL; Williams AR; Morriss MC, “Incidental neuroimaging findings in nonacute headache,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed June 18, 2024,