JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW
SYSTEMATIC REVIEW
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Post-traumatic headache pathophysiology in paediatric concussion: A systematic review.

Post-traumatic headache (PTH) represents the most common acute and persistent symptom following concussion in children, yet the underlying pathophysiology remains unclear. This systematic review sought to: (i) rigorously examine the current evidence of PTH pathophysiology in paediatric concussion (0-18 years), (ii) assess the quality of evidence, and (iii) provide directions for future research in accordance with PRISMA guidelines. Eligible studies (n = 19) totalling 1214 concussion participants investigated cerebrovascular function (n = 6), white matter integrity (n = 3), functional connectivity (n = 3), electrophysiology (n = 1), neurometabolics (n = 2), biological fluid markers (n = 4), vestibular and oculomotor function (n = 4); two studies used a multi-modal approach. Majority of studies were rated as fair quality (90%) and Level 3 evidence (84%). The true underlying mechanisms of PTH following paediatric concussion remain unclear. Overall quality of the available evidence is generally weak with a fair risk of bias and characterised by relative scarcity and lack of specificity of PTH pathophysiology. Future research is required to rigorously isolate pathophysiology specific to PTH with strict adherence to clinical definitions and standardised measurement tools of PTH.

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