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Brief Sharp Stabs of Head Pain and Giant Cell Arteritis


  • Conflict of Interest: No disclosures.

T. Rozen, Geisinger Wyoming Valley, Department of Neurology, MC 37-31, 1000 E. Mountain Drive, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711, USA.


Giant cell arteritis (GCA) should be considered in the differential diagnosis of any new onset headache occurring in individuals over the age of 50 years. Headache is the most common complaint in GCA patients but the clinical characteristics of the headache itself does not help in making a diagnosis as the headache can occur anywhere on the head, not just the temples, be mild to severe in intensity and be dull to throbbing in quality. As other things can cause new onset headache in older individuals, additional clinical symptoms or signs that may suggest GCA as a diagnosis would be useful to clinicians. Two cases are presented that suggests that new onset stabbing headache associated with a new daily persistent headache is a possible diagnostic sign for a diagnosis of GCA. Nothing in the literature to date has mentioned new onset stabbing headache as part of the presenting symptom complex for GCA.

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