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