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Migraine Classification Migraine Classification
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Author: Markus Dahlem 12. June 2005
Edited by: Markus Dahlem

Migraine Classification

IHS and WHO code

The International Headache Society (IHS), founded in 1981, classifies headache diseases. The Headache Classification Committee of the IHS organized several scientific meetings to discuss and establish the criteria of the ICHD-II system that the IHS released in 2003.

Meeting of the Headache Classification Committee of the International Headache Society at the Pain Clinic Kiel, Kiel, Germany, in December 2002 (see here). F. l. t. r. back row: Prof. Peter J. Goadsby (Great Britain), Prof. Guiseppe Nappi (Italy), Prof. Timothy J. Steiner (Great Britain); middle row: Prof. Peer Telft-Hansen (Denmark), Prof. James W. Lance (Australia), Miguel J.A. Lainez (Spain), David Dodick (USA); front row: Prof. Hartmut Göbel (Germany), Prof. Fumihiko Sakai (Japan), Prof. Rigmor Jensen (Denmark), Prof. Jes Olesen (Denmark); Prof. Marie-Germaine Bousser (France), Prof. Hans-Christoph Diener (Germany).

According to the authors of the ICHD-II, "The Second Edition of the International Headache Classification is perhaps the single most important document to read for doctors taking an interest in the diagnosis and management of headache patients" (IHS, 2004). [more]

Logo of the International Headache Society. © 2007 IHS

Classification of visual disturbances

The extension of visual cortex is mirrored by the frequency of migraine aura symptoms consisting of visual disturbances. © 2005 Jochem Rieger

Migraine subtypes and subforms are divided predominantly symptom-based. Although aura symptoms occur in two thirds of the categories, the set of diagnostic criteria that must be fulfilled mostly does not differentiate between the various symptoms.

Visual disturbances are typical symptoms in two thirds of the subforms. © 2005 Markus Dahlem

Visual disturbances are typical symptoms in two thirds of the subforms, however the set of diagnostic criteria that must be fulfilled at this level rarely differentiate between the various aura symptoms. Notwithstanding, attention should be paid to visual symptoms which may provide a first step towards an aetiological classification. [more]


International Headache Society. The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd edition. Cephalalgia 2004; 24 (suppl. 1): 1-160.
Olesen J, Steiner TJ. The International classification of headache disorders, 2nd edn (ICDH-II). J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2004; 75: 808-811.

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