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Clinical Features of Cluster Headache: An Outpatient Clinic Study from China


  • All authors participated in collecting the information of patients.
  • Disclosure: None.

Reprint requests to: Jiying Zhou, MD, PhD, Department of Neurology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, 1st You Yi Road, Yu Zhong District, Chongqing 400016, China. Tel: 023-890125581; Fax: 023-8911487; E-mail:



The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical characteristics of cluster headache (CH) in a neurology outpatient population in China.


A cross-sectional survey was conducted from June to December 2011 in a tertiary care, university-affiliated hospital. All consecutive patients citing headache as their chief complaint were asked to participate in a face-to-face interview with a qualified headache specialist and to complete a detailed self-administered questionnaire. The diagnosis of CH was made according to the International Classification of Headache Disorders, Second Edition (ICHD-II).


Of the 1,526 headache patients screened, 26 were diagnosed with CH (6 women, 20 men). Mean age at onset was 27 ± 8 years (range, 17–47), and 50% of patients were 20–30 years of age. Of the 26 CH patients, 61.5% reported that pain was usually centered at the right temporal region, and 69.2% characterized the pain as swelling. Attacks lasted 87 minutes on average and were associated with cranial autonomic symptoms (100%). A seasonal predilection was reported by 69.2% of CH patients. No patient reported significant changes in pain severity after physical activity. Tobacco use was common (14/26 patients), and alcohol was the most frequently cited trigger.


This study details the clinical features of CH in a neurology outpatient population in China. Compared with Western studies, our patients were different in several aspects including the absence of chronic CH.

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