Complications of cerebral vein and sinus thrombosis

Front Neurol Neurosci. 2008:23:161-71. doi: 10.1159/000111377.


Thrombosis of the dural sinus and encephalic veins (CVT) is an infrequent condition accounting for less than 1% of all strokes. Several recent prospective series, in particular the large International Study on Cerebral Vein and Dural Sinus Thrombosis cohort, definitely have shown a more benign prognosis compared with that of arterial strokes: CVT has an acute case fatality of less than 5%, and almost 80% of patients recover without sequelae. However, patients surviving the acute phase of CVT are at risk of a number of complications such as recurrence of any thrombotic events in about 7%, recurrence of CVT in about 2-12%, seizures in 5 to 32%, visual loss due to optic atrophy in percentages that range from less than 1 to 5%, presence of dural fistula (there are no data available about exact frequency) and neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric sequelae characterized by aphasia, abulia and depression. However, there is only little information on the long-term neuropsychological outcome. Studies investigating professional status, cognitive performance, depressive symptoms and quality of life evidenced depression and anxiety in 2/3 of CVT patients despite an apparent good recovery in 87% of these patients. Thus, patients should be encouraged to return to previous occupations and hobbies and reassured about the very low risk of recurrence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System Vascular Malformations / etiology
  • Cerebral Veins*
  • Cognition Disorders
  • Female
  • Headache / etiology
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Thrombosis / complications*
  • Intracranial Thrombosis / pathology*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Seizures / etiology
  • Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial / complications*
  • Vision Disorders / etiology