Thunderclap headache

Last revised by Assoc Prof Craig Hacking on 25 Feb 2019

A thunderclap headache is a very sudden onset headache, and often described as being hit in the head with a baseball bat (cricket bat etc... presumably feel similar). Often it is described as the 'worst or first' headache and 'explosive' when severe.

Classically it has been seen as a symptom of subarachnoid hemorrhage, however numerous other conditions can present in this fashion. These include:

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Cases and figures

  • SAH
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  • Perimesencephalic SAH
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  • Venous sinus thrombosis
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  • Pituitary apoplexy
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  • Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome
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  • Colloid Cyst
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