Prenatal diagnosis of thrombosis of the dural sinuses: report of six cases, review of the literature and suggested management

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Aug;32(2):188-98. doi: 10.1002/uog.5348.


Objectives: To describe and assess the sonographic findings, evolution and clinical implications of thrombosis of the fetal dural sinuses.

Methods: We compiled a multicenter report of the outcomes of five cases with a prenatal diagnosis of thrombosis of the dural sinuses, and one case in which thrombosis of the dural sinus was diagnosed at necroscopy after termination of pregnancy. Prognostic factors are discussed, and suggestions made for prenatal and postnatal management.

Results: The mean (range) gestational age at diagnosis of thrombosis of the dural sinuses in the five cases in which it was made prenatally was 25.2 (22-31) weeks. In these five cases, diagnosis was made by sonography and confirmed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which showed a blood clot in the region of the torcular herophili. Three of the six cases delivered vaginally with favorable sonographic findings, and normal clinical neurological development. Two pregnancies were terminated at the request of the parents. In one of these cases the prognosis was poor, with signs of fetal decompensation or cardiac failure; the pregnancy was terminated and necropsy revealed thrombosis of the occipital dural sinuses associated with a hemangioma. One infant, in whom the thrombosis developed in conjunction with a dural sinus malformation, died at 4 months of age.

Conclusions: Thrombosis of the cerebral venous circulation can occur antenatally and is detectable by fetal real-time and color Doppler ultrasound examination. A review of the literature supports targeted evaluation of the fetus by serial ultrasound imaging and MRI to help guide the diagnosis, and to improve the counseling and management of such cases. Partial or total regression, isolated abnormality, absence of fetal decompensation or signs of cardiac failure and favorable clinical evolution are suggestive of favorable prognosis. In such cases, non-interventional neonatal management is recommended.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Multicenter Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Counseling
  • Cranial Sinuses / abnormalities*
  • Cranial Sinuses / surgery
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography / methods*
  • Parents / psychology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods*
  • Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial / diagnosis*
  • Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial / surgery
  • Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial / therapy
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods*