What is cerebral venous thrombosis?

Also known as: cerebral sinovenous thrombosis, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, sinus, cerebral vein thrombosis and CSVT.

Cerebral venous thrombosis is an increasingly recognized cause of stroke in a newborn baby, or children, about 40% of childhood CSVT’s.

A blood clot develops in the venous sinuses of the brain, for a number of reasons, which blocks the flow of blood out of the brain. This leads to blood leaking out of the cerebral veins (hemorrhage) and if the venous pressure is high enough, a decrease in arterial blood flow into the brain with brain damage caused by lack of oxygen.

What causes cerebral venous thrombosis?

There are a number of  medical conditions that impact blood clotting which can lead to cerebral venous thrombosis.

Risk factors include:

  • Problems associated with abnormal clotting mechanisms

  • Abnormalities in the head and neck

  • Fever

  • Dehydration

  • Anemias

  • Kidney disease

  • Congenital heart disease

  • Infections (otitis media, mastoiditis and meningitis)

  • Head trauma

  • Cancer

  • Diabetes

  • And other chronic conditions


What are the symptoms of cerebral venous thrombosis? 

Symptoms of cerebral venous thrombosis vary depending on the location of the clotted vein and can include headache, blurred vision, fainting, seizures, difficulty moving limbs, increased pressure in the head, coma, and brain injury.

What are cerebral venous thrombosis care options?

Cerebral venous thrombosis is a medical emergency and must be treated in the hospital. Treatments may include IV fluids and medications to treat infections, seizures and blood clots. Surgery is sometimes needed and rehabilitation is often necessary.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 1/29/2019 3:21:13 PM

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