A 24 year old female presents to the ED complaining of a worsening headache after a lumbar puncture performed in the ED 2 days prior which diagnosed idiopathic intracranial hypertension. "No problem!" you think. Either this is just a post LP headache or possibly the patient needs more CSF drained to improve her headache. LP is a very safe procedure with minimal risk after all! Right?
Most patients presenting to the ED with a headache have a simple primary headache: tension, migraine, or cluster. Detecting the "other" etiolgies for headache, which can result in neurologic devastation or death, is often a diagnostic challenge. He we give some quick hits for one of the "can't miss" headaches, how it presents, and how to diagnose it.
A 59 year old male presents complaining of unsteadiness on his feet and vomiting for 24 hours. You know there are numerous benign explanations for his symptoms, but also realize there are a few "can't miss" diagnoses as well...what are they and how do we assess for them in the ED?