Background: Headache disorders are considered as the second cause of disability worldwide and a common issue we encounter in the neurology department. Currently, there is a lack of retrospective cross-sectional studies regarding headache prevalence in Saudi Arabia. We aim to determine headache prevalence and the methods of healthcare utilization at King Abdulaziz University Hospital (KAUH) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Methodology: A retrospective cross-sectional study was carried out at KAUH through chart reviews by searching all codes for headache in the medical records. Our sample included adults above 18 years who visited the neurology department because of headache between 2018 and 2019, which totaled 45 patients. Data were analyzed by frequency and chi-square test using IBMs Statistical Package for the Social Sciences Statistics (Version 21).
Results: Chronic migraine (CM) was the most prevalent type of headache (16 patients, 35.6%), followed by unspecified headache (13, 28.9%), episodic migraine (5, 11.1%), and tension-type headache (3, 6.7%). Women were more prone to headaches (33, 73.3%). Also, we found that headache disorders were more frequent among patients aged between 26 and 36 years (18, 40%). Medications used were paracetamol (32 patients, 71.1%) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (13, 28.9%). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed for most of the patients in our sample, and most of the studies were normal. Complete blood count was the most frequent laboratory test done (42, 93.3%).
Conclusions: The most prevalent type of headache at KAUH was CM, and women were affected more than men. The most frequent age group was 26-36 years. Another essential aspect was that most of the MRI studies showed normal results.
Key words: Saudi Arabia, headache, primary headache, disability