• pediatric;
  • migraine;
  • headaches


The diagnosis of migraine headache in children and adolescents is complex and not well understood. This study was conducted to compare diagnostic rates, using various criteria for pediatric migraine, and specific symptom characteristics in a sample of children referred for care to a specialized pediatric headache clinic. A structured interview was used at the patient's initial assessment visit to elicit symptom patterns and therapies attempted for headache. Clinical diagnoses were based on consensus agreement reached by a multidisciplinary team. Statistically derived diagnostic rates based on International Headache Society (IHS), Prensky, Vahlquist and our own criteria were significantly lower than clinical diagnostic rates. IHS diagnostic rates were differentially distributed as a function of race, but no other effects were found for demographic variables on diagnostic rates. Specific symptom patterns, however, varied as a function of race, gender and age of the child. The results underscore the need for comprehensive, developmentally based models of the evolution of migraine headache as a foundation for future research and the further development of clinically sensitive diagnostic criteria for pediatric migraine.