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Curr Pain Headache Rep ; 25(11): 73, 2021 Nov 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1527506


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Headache is a common symptom of COVID-19 with emerging literature being published on the subject. Although it may seem unspecific, scientific evidence has allowed a better definition of this headache type, revealing relevant associations with other COVID-19 symptoms and prognoses. We therefore sought to highlight the most remarkable findings concerning headache secondary to COVID-19, specifically focusing on epidemiology, characteristics, pathophysiology, and treatments. RECENT FINDINGS: The real prevalence of headache as a symptom of COVID-19 is still unclear ranging from 10 to 70%. Headache mainly has a tension-type-like phenotype, although 25% of individuals present with migraine-like features that also occur in patients without personal migraine history. This finding suggests that a likely pathophysiological mechanism is the activation of the trigeminovascular system. SARS-CoV-2 neurotropism can occur by trans-synaptic invasion through the olfactory route from the nasal cavity, leading to anosmia which has been associated with headache. SARS-CoV-2 protein has been found not only in olfactory mucosa and bulbs but also in trigeminal branches and the trigeminal ganglion, supporting this hypothesis. However, other mechanisms such as brain vessels inflammation due to SARS-CoV-2 damage to the endothelium or systemic inflammation in the context of cytokine storm cannot be ruled out. Interestingly, headache has been associated with lower COVID-19 mortality. No specific treatment for COVID-19 headache is available at present. Studies show that investigating COVID-19 headache represents an opportunity not only to better understand COVID-19 in general but also to advance in the knowledge of both secondary and primary headaches. Future research is therefore warranted.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Headache/epidemiology , Anosmia/physiopathology , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/physiopathology , Endothelium, Vascular , Headache/etiology , Headache/physiopathology , Headache/therapy , Humans , Inflammation , Migraine Disorders/physiopathology , SARS-CoV-2 , Tension-Type Headache/physiopathology , Trigeminal Ganglion/physiopathology , Trigeminal Ganglion/virology , Trigeminal Nerve/physiopathology , Trigeminal Nerve/virology , Viral Tropism
Headache ; 61(8): 1277-1280, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1345953


One year after the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), referrals for persistent headache, often defined as "post-COVID headache," have become increasingly common in outpatient headache clinics. However, it is important to take into consideration that this term may include a spectrum of clinically different headache types. We describe three cases of migraine-like headaches in individuals with a history of mild COVID-19 infection to demonstrate some of the different phenotypes of persistent headaches seen. These cases highlight the importance of a careful evaluation when assessing the complexities of "post-COVID headache" as well as the need to further investigate the different, underlying, pathophysiological mechanisms.

COVID-19/complications , Migraine Disorders/virology , Adult , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2
Cephalalgia ; 40(13): 1410-1421, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1088416


OBJECTIVE: To define headache characteristics and evolution in relation to COVID-19 and its inflammatory response. METHODS: This is a prospective study, comparing clinical data and inflammatory biomarkers of COVID-19 patients with and without headache, recruited at the Emergency Room. We compared baseline with 6-week follow-up to evaluate disease evolution. RESULTS: Of 130 patients, 74.6% (97/130) had headache. In all, 24.7% (24/97) of patients had severe pain with migraine-like features. Patients with headache had more anosmia/ageusia (54.6% vs. 18.2%; p < 0.0001). Clinical duration of COVID-19 was shorter in the headache group (23.9 ± 11.6 vs. 31.2 ± 12.0 days; p = 0.028). In the headache group, IL-6 levels were lower at the ER (22.9 (57.5) vs. 57.0 (78.6) pg/mL; p = 0.036) and more stable during hospitalisation. After 6 weeks, of 74 followed-up patients with headache, 37.8% (28/74) had ongoing headache. Of these, 50% (14/28) had no previous headache history. Headache was the prodromal symptom of COVID-19 in 21.4% (6/28) of patients with persistent headache (p = 0.010). CONCLUSIONS: Headache associated with COVID-19 is a frequent symptom, predictive of a shorter COVID-19 clinical course. Disabling headache can persist after COVID-19 resolution. Pathophysiologically, its migraine-like features may reflect an activation of the trigeminovascular system by inflammation or direct involvement of SARS-CoV-2, a hypothesis supported by concomitant anosmia.

Coronavirus Infections/complications , Headache/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Adult , Aged , Betacoronavirus , Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Female , Headache/epidemiology , Humans , Inflammation/blood , Inflammation/virology , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Prodromal Symptoms , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2