To evaluate the efficacy of a pediatric headache infusion center (HIC) in alleviating the symptoms and preventing future visits to the emergency department (ED).
Headache is a common reason for visits to the pediatric ED. ED visits are associated with inordinate costs of care and are conceived by parents to be avoidable if adequate alternatives are available. An infusion center for acute treatment of intractable headache in children with chronic migraine may be an effective alternative to an ED visit.
This was a retrospective analysis of data from a single-center cohort of patients with a known history of chronic migraine, presenting to Dayton Children’s HIC with an acute migraine from June 1, 2017 to June 1, 2020. Patients were treated according to established protocols divided into two pathways. Patient demographics, clinical characteristics, pre- and postinfusion pain scores, ED visits and inpatient admissions within 2 weeks of HIC visit, and ED visits 1 year prior and 1 year after the HIC visit were noted.
A total of 297 HIC visits were analyzed from 201 patients. The HIC was effective in controlling symptoms with a significant reduction in pain score (median [interquartile range; IQR] 7.0 [2.0] preinfusion vs. 1.0 [2.0] postinfusion, p < 0.001). Only 25/297 (8.4%) patients came to the ED within 2 weeks of the HIC visit, and an even smaller number of patients (20/297, 6.7%) were admitted as inpatients within 2 weeks of the HIC visit. The number of ED visits was significantly reduced in the year after the HIC visit compared with the year prior (median [IQR] 1.0 [2.0] before vs. 0.0 [1.0] after, p < 0.001).
A pediatric HIC is effective in alleviating the symptoms and preventing ED visits. These centers should be considered as standard of care at children’s hospitals.

© 2021 American Headache Society.