• 1 Department of Hematology, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kubang Kerian, Malaysia
  • 2 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Bangladesh
  • 3 West China School of Nursing, Frontiers Science Center for Disease-Related Molecular Network, West China Hospital, Institutes for Systems Genetics, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China
  • 4 Department of Neurology, Headache Centre, San Lazzaro Hospital, Alba, Italy
Front Neurol, 2020;11:562634.
PMID: 33329305 DOI: 10.3389/fneur.2020.562634


Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) started to spread globally since December 2019 from Wuhan, China. Headache has been observed as one of the clinical manifestations in COVID-19 patients. We aimed to conduct a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the overall pooled prevalence of headache in COVID-19 patients. Methods: PubMed, Scopus, ScienceDirect, and Google Scholar databases were searched to identify studies published between December 2019 and March 2020. Adult (≥18 years) COVID-19 patients were considered eligible. We used random-effects model to estimate the pooled prevalence with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Quality assessment was done using the Joanna Briggs Institute critical appraisal tools. This study is registered with PROSPERO (CRD42020182529). Results: We identified 2,055 studies, of which 86 studies (n = 14,275, 49.4% female) were included in the meta-analysis. Overall, the pooled prevalence of headache in COVID-19 patients was 10.1% [95% CI: 8.76-11.49]. There was no significant difference of headache prevalence in severe or critical vs. non-severe (RR: 1.05, p = 0.78), survived (recovered or discharged) vs. non-survived (RR: 1.36, p = 0.23), and ICU vs. non-ICU (RR: 1.06, p = 0.87) COVID-19 patients. We detected 64.0, 34.9, and 1.1% of the included studies as high, moderate, and low quality, respectively. Conclusions: From the first 4-month data of the outbreak, headache was detected in 10.1% of the adult COVID-19 patients.

* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.