Distinguishing dural sinus thrombosis from benign intracranial hypertension

Emerg Med J. 2004 Mar;21(2):245-7. doi: 10.1136/emj.2003.006734.


Dural sinus thrombosis (DST) is a life threatening illness and is often overlooked but it must be considered in the differential diagnosis of a patient presenting with a significant headache. DST presents similarly to benign intracranial hypertension (BIH) with intracranial hypertension and headache. A case of a 23 year old woman with DST is described that was initially diagnosed as BIH. A Medline search to determine the examination of a patient with suspected BIH or DST yielded several articles on this topic but only two brief case reports in the emergency medicine literature. Any patient with suspected DST or BIH must have a confirmatory magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance venography study. Treatment of DST seems to be effective, considerably different from BIH, and lack of treatment may lead to increased morbidity and mortality.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Headache / complications
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hypertension / diagnosis*
  • Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial / diagnosis*
  • Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial / etiology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods