Background

Cold weather is reportedly a precipitator of reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS) in a few cases. We systematically investigated whether meteorological factors correlate with the occurrence of RCVS.

Methods

We conducted a retrospective analysis of a cohort of patients diagnosed with RCVS or probable RCVS, based on International Classification of Headache Disorders, third edition (ICHD‐3) criteria, in a hospital‐based headache center from March 2005 to February 2014. Monthly averages of local weather data measured in Taipei were obtained from the Central Weather Bureau in Taiwan. Primary weather variables were compared with the number of monthly new‐onset cases of RCVS.

Results

We recruited 226 patients with established RCVS and 72 patients with probable RCVS during a 108‐month study period. Incidence of RCVS was higher in winter than summer months (3.3 persons/month [SD: 2.0] vs 2.1 persons/month [SD: 1.5], P = .013). The monthly incidence of RCVS correlated negatively with mean daily temperature (r = −0.231, P = .016) and average precipitation (r = −0.269, P = .005), but positively with barometric pressure (r = 0.274, P = .004). These 3 correlated meteorological factors together explained about 10% of the variance in RCVS monthly incidence (R
2 = 0.095, P = .015).

Conclusion

RCVS was found to be more common in winter months and to be associated with weather variables in Taiwan. Further studies are needed to explore the underlying mechanisms of these associations.

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