Life-Threatening Headaches: Can't-Miss Causes & COVID-19 Connections (On-demand Course) -

Life-Threatening Headaches: Can't-Miss Causes & COVID-19 Connections (On-demand Course)
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Delivery Method:

1-Hour Discussion with Q&A + Online CME Course

Life-threatening secondary headache can be due to vascular disorders or trauma, and they can present with sudden, severe onset. This course presents the red flag signs for the most dangerous causes, with recommendations on swift imaging and treatment. In addition, it covers special considerations for patients presenting with headache in the COVID-19 era.

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • List the historical and clinical examination findings suggestive of life-threatening secondary headache in the emergency department
  • Explain appropriate and up-to-date diagnostic and imaging strategies for headache presentations
  • Select pharmacotherapy options for hypertension management
  • Describe treatment strategies for secondary headaches
  • Identify stroke management caveats related to COVID-19

Included in This Program:

  1. 1-hour lecture with Q&A
  2. Online access to an evidence-based companion article
  3. 5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™, including 5 stroke credits and 2 pharmacology credits

Note: Emergency Medicine Practice subscribers who have claimed CME credit for the February 2019 issue on life-threatening headaches will only be eligible to earn 1 CME credit for this course.


Edward P. Sloan, MD

Dr. Sloan is an emergency physician and the Medical Director at Dominican University in Illinois and Professor Emeritus at UIC Emergency Medicine. He’s the founder of FERNE (the Foundation for the Education and Research in Neurological Emergencies), a specialist in neurologic emergencies, a long-time educator, and a healthcare provider career coach.

Sam Ashoo, MD

Dr. Ashoo is an emergency physician practicing in Tallahassee, Florida and is board certified in emergency medicine and clinical informatics. He’s the founder of Admin EM, an educational website that provides administrative and clinical support. He’s also the host of EB Medicine’s podcast, EMplify.

Feedback from Past Participants:

“A very good discussion of the evaluation and management of life threatening headaches in the ER.” – Michael K., MD

“I now have a better assessment, evaluation, and treatment for patients with headache.” – James K. MD

“I feel more confident in SAH and pre-eclampsia and GCA workups.” – William F., DO

“Great red flag checklist for headache.” – Kasia M., MD

“This broadened my consideration of other causes of headache, like IIHS.” – June M., MD

“This clinical data on diagnostic criteria for the differential helps me guide my practice for my patients.” – Bret P., DO

“After participating in this course, I will use D-dimer for low-risk patients suspected of CVT, and will look for beading of temporal artery on patients suspected of having GCA given the high LR of this clinical exam finding.” – Nathan W.

“Excellent evidence based data and presentations. Keep up the fantastic and timely work.” – Kent S., PA-C

“I feel more comfortable with non con head CT in the first six hours with SAH rule out.” – Sara B., MD

“Great refresher for headaches with pregnancy.” – Michael M., PA-C

“I appreciate the great review of secondary headache disorders. Cardinal features, with included likelihood ratios when appropriate, are useful.” – David B., MD

CME Information

Date of Activity: June 4, 2020.

CME Expiration Date: June 4, 2023.

Accreditation: EB Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the ACCME.

Credit Designation: EB Medicine designates this enduring material for a maximum of 5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Specialty CME: Included as part of the 5 credits, this CME activity is eligible for 5 Stroke CME and 2 Pharmacology CME credits, subject to your state and institutional approval.

Needs Assessment: The need for this educational activity was determined by a survey of medical staff, including the editorial board of this publication; review of morbidity and mortality data from the CDC, AHA, NCHS, and ACEP; and evaluation of prior activities for emergency physicians.

Target Audience: This enduring material is designed for emergency medicine physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and residents.

Goals: Upon completion of this activity, you should be able to: (1) demonstrate medical decision-making based on the strongest clinical evidence; (2) cost-effectively diagnose and treat the most critical presentations; and (3) describe the most common medicolegal pitfalls for each topic covered.

Objectives: Upon completion of this activity, you should be able to: (1) list the historical and clinical examination findings suggestive of life-threatening secondary headache in the emergency department; (2) explain appropriate and up-to-date diagnostic and imaging strategies for headache presentations, (3) select pharmacotherapy options for hypertension management, (4) describe treatment strategies for secondary headaches, and (5) identify stroke management caveats related to COVID-19.

Faculty Disclosures: It is the policy of EB Medicine to ensure objectivity, balance, independence, transparency, and scientific rigor in all CME-sponsored educational activities. All faculty participating in the planning or implementation of a sponsored activity are expected to disclose to the audience any relevant financial relationships and to assist in resolving any conflict of interest that may arise from the relationship. In compliance with all ACCME Essentials, Standards, and Guidelines, all faculty for this CME activity were asked to complete a full disclosure statement. The information received is as follows: Dr. Ashoo, Dr. Sloan, and their related parties report no relevant financial relationships.

Commercial Support: This activity did not receive any commercial support.

Earning Credit: To earn credit, participate in the activity and complete the post-test and the evaluation form on the EB Medicine website.

Hardware/Software Requirements: You will need a computer and speakers or headphones for the discussion portion and a computer in order to take the CME test and evaluation.

Accessibility: EB Medicine is committed to making its CME activities accessible to all individuals. If you are in need of an accommodation, advance notification will help us to better serve you.

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