Rheolytic catheter and thrombolysis of dural venous sinus thrombosis: a case series

Neurosurgery. 2001 Mar;48(3):487-93; discussion 493-4. doi: 10.1097/00006123-200103000-00005.


Objective: The high morbidity and mortality rates associated with dural sinus thrombosis may be heightened by a delay in diagnosis, which necessitates prompt and effective treatment. Traditional treatment consists of the initiation of systemic anticoagulation with heparin and, more recently, regional thrombolysis with direct endovascular infusion of thrombolytic agents. We report our experience in a series of five patients in whom we accomplished mechanical clot lysis with the combination of a rheolytic device and balloon catheters.

Methods: Five patients with dural sinus thrombosis were treated with a combination of pharmacological and mechanical thrombolysis with the 5-French Angiolet rheolytic catheter (Possis Medical, Minneapolis, MN) and balloon catheters. The success of the procedure was determined by resolution of or improvement in the patient's neurological examination results and imaging features.

Results: All five patients demonstrated immediate improvement as observed on imaging studies or in terms of neurological status. Three patients required more than one intervention, and all but one patient continued to improve after the final intervention. Two of the five patients continued to experience mild residual neurological deficits, and two patients experienced complete recovery. The fifth patient had a delayed recurrence of thrombosis that required multiple interventions, and the patient has significant neurological deficits. Navigation of the dural sinuses was possible in all patients with the use of a microcatheter and was possible to a variable degree with the rheolytic catheter. Known complications of the procedures included two pseudoaneurysms at the femoral puncture site.

Conclusion: Mechanical clot lysis is a powerful technique for immediate restoration of antegrade venous flow in dural sinus thrombosis. In most patients, the superior sagittal sinuses and contralateral transverse sinuses could be accessed with the 5-French rheolytic catheter.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Catheterization / methods*
  • Dura Mater / blood supply*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rheology
  • Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial / therapy*
  • Thrombolytic Therapy / methods*