CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
Some thunderclap headaches appear as a result of:
- No obvious physical reason
In other cases, potentially life-threatening conditions may be responsible, including:
- Bleeding between the brain and membranes covering the brain
- A rupture of a blood vessel in the brain
- A tear in the lining of an artery (for example, carotid or vertebral artery) that supplies blood to the brain
- Leaking of cerebrospinal fluid which when present is usually due to a tear of the covering around a nerve root in the spine
- A tumor in the third ventricle of the brain that blocks the flow of cerebrospinal fluid
- Death of tissue or bleeding in the pituitary gland
- A blood clot in the brain
- Severe elevation in blood pressure
- Infection such as meningitis or encephalitis
- Olesen J, et al. The international classification of headache disorders. International Headache Society. http://ihs-classification.org/en/02_klassifikation/02_teil1/04.06.00_other.html. Accessed Oct. 19, 2011.
- Approach to the patient with headache. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic_disorders/headache/approach_to_the_patient_with_headache.html. Accessed Oct. 23, 2011.
- Goadsby PJ, et al. Headache. In: Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=9094791. Accessed Oct. 23, 2011.
- Headache: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/headache/detail_headache.htm. Accessed Oct. 23, 2011.
- DuPont SA, et al. Thunderclap headache and normal computed tomographic results: Value of cerebrospinal fluid analysis. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2008;83:1326.
- Savitz SI, et al. Thunderclap headache with normal CT and lumbar puncture: Further investigations are unnecessary: For. Stroke. 2008;39:1392.
- Tarshish S, et al. Teaching case presentation: Primary thunderclap headache. Headache. 2009;49:1249.
- Mistry N, et al. Thunderclap headache. Practical Neurology. 2009;9:294.
- Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed Oct. 23, 2011.
- Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society. The international classification of headache disorders: 2nd ed. Cephalalgia. 2004;24(suppl):9.