Show Summary Details
Page of

Severe Headache 

Severe Headache
Severe Headache

Aman Shah

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 24 September 2021

This case highlights the clinical presentation and diagnostic workup of a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) in an emergency department setting. Given the high morbidity and mortality associated with this diagnosis, clinicians must have a high index of suspicion when patients present with an acute onset, severe headache. While computed tomography of the head is the best initial diagnostic test, lumbar puncture should be performed if the imaging is equivocal or negative and the clinical concern for SAH persists. After SAH is diagnosed, prompt consultation and co-management with neurosurgery should occur, in addition to strict blood pressure control and efforts to reduce intracranial pressure. Trauma is the most common cause of SAH while aneurysmal rupture is the leading cause of atraumatic SAH.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.