Post-reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome #headache

Chronic headache may persist after the remission of reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS) in some patients. We aimed to investigate the prevalence, characteristics, risk factors, and the impact of post-RCVS headache.

We prospectively recruited patients with RCVS and collected their baseline demographics, including psychological distress measured by Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale. We evaluated whether the patients developed post-RCVS headache 3 months after RCVS onset. The manifestations of post-RCVS headache and headache-related disability measured by Migraine Disability Assessment (MIDAS) scores were recorded.

From 2017 to 2019, 134 patients with RCVS were recruited, of whom, 123 finished follow-up interviews (response rate 91.8%). Sixty (48.8%) patients had post-RCVS headache. Migrainous features were common in post-RCVS headache.

Post-RCVS headache caused moderate-to-severe headache-related disability (MIDAS score > 10) in seven (11.7%) patients. Higher anxiety level (odds ratio 1.21, p = 0.009) and a history of migraine (odds ratio 2.59, p = 0.049) are associated with post-RCVS headache. Survival analysis estimated that 50% post-RCVS headache would recover in 389 days (95% confidence interval: 198.5–579) after disease onset.

Post-RCVS headache is common, affecting half of patients and being disabling in one-tenth. Higher anxiety level and migraine history are risk factors. Half of the patients with post-RCVS headache would recover in about a year