Cerebral venous thrombosis: clinical features, risk factors, and long-term outcome in a Tunisian cohort

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2014 Jul;23(6):1291-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2013.10.025. Epub 2014 Jan 22.


Background: Data from African countries regarding diagnosis, prognosis, management, and outcome of patients with cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) are limited. The aim of the present study is to characterize clinical presentation, predisposing factors, neuroimaging findings, and outcomes of the disease in the Tunisian population.

Methods: This is a prospective study including patients referred to the Neurology Department of the Military Hospital of Tunis between January 2009 and December 2012. The diagnosis of CVT was confirmed in all patients using magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance venography. The demographic, clinical, radiological, and outcome data were recorded and analyzed. Median follow-up was 16 months (range 6 months to 4 years). Primary outcome was death or dependency as assessed by modified Rankin score more than 2 at the end of follow-up.

Results: This study included 41 patients with CVT. Mean age was 41.24 years, predominantly women (68%). The mode of onset was acute in 10 patients (24%), subacute in 26 (64%), and chronic in 5 (12%). The most common presenting features were headache, observed in 83% of the patients, followed by seizures, focal motor deficits, papilledema, and mental status changes. Lateral (56%) and superior longitudinal (51%) sinuses were the most commonly involved. Multiple sinuses were involved in 46% of cases. Nineteen patients (46%) had a D-dimer level more than 500 ng/mL. Major causes of CVT were thrombophilia (56%), either genetic or acquired, obstetric and gynecological (50%), and septic (34%). Outcome was favorable in 83% of patients. At the end of follow-up, 32 patients (78%) had complete recovery (modified Rankin Scale [mRs] score 0-1), 2 (5%) had partial recovery (mRs score 2), and 4 (10%) were dependent (mRs score 3-5). One patient (2.5%) had a recurrent sinus thrombosis.

Conclusions: Our Tunisian population presented distinct risk factors profile with high frequency of thrombophilia, infections, and postpartum state. Oral contraceptive use is not a major risk factor in our population. The overall prognosis was good.

Keywords: Cerebral venous thrombosis; North Africa; prognosis; risk factors.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Heparin / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Thrombosis / diagnosis*
  • Intracranial Thrombosis / drug therapy
  • Intracranial Thrombosis / mortality
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroimaging
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / drug therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Tunisia
  • Venous Thrombosis / diagnosis*
  • Venous Thrombosis / drug therapy
  • Venous Thrombosis / mortality
  • Young Adult


  • Anticoagulants
  • Heparin