Autonomic nervous system function in children and adolescents with primary headache disorders
Mulgaonkar, Ashwini Prasanna
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The relationship between autonomic dysfunction and primary headache disorders has been established in the adult population. The aim of this retrospective study was to elucidate if there was a similar association in the pediatric primary headache population. Three groups were compared - migraine patients, tension-type headache patients and idiopathic scoliosis patients as a control group. Utilizing clinical data collected during patients' initial visits, prevalence of autonomic dysfunction symptoms were quantified. The headache groups also filled out the Functional Disability Index (FDI) as well as the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI) to help elucidate if there was a relationship between function disability, psychiatric state and primary headaches and/or autonomic dysfunction symptoms. It was found that the headache groups had significantly greater dysautonomia as compared to the control group. Only slight differences were found between the migraine and tension-type patients in regards to dysautonomia. No significant differences were found in total FDI or CDI scores. These results illuminate a relationship between autonomic nervous system dysfunction and primary headache disorders in the pediatric population studied. Prospective studies and the development of standardized dysautonomia questionnaires will allow a more detailed autonomic dysfunction profile to be built for this population.