Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis

J Thromb Haemost. 2018 Oct;16(10):1918-1931. doi: 10.1111/jth.14210. Epub 2018 Jul 11.


The cerebral venous system is an unusual site of thrombosis, with a particularly high incidence in young adults. This incidence has increased in past decades because of the improvement of neuroradiological techniques. Risk factors for cerebral venous sinus thrombosis overlap with those of other venous thromboembolism sites; however, some are specific for this particular anatomical district. Prognosis is favorable in most cases if diagnosis is made rapidly and treatment is promptly initiated, even if acute complications or chronic invalidity still occur in a quarter of patients. The mainstay of treatment is anticoagulation, which is necessary in order to block clot propagation and obtain recanalization. Intracranial bleeding does not contraindicate anticoagulation. Endovascular procedures are reserved for patients with a particularly severe presentation or rapidly declining neurological symptoms despite appropriate anticoagulation, although data from clinical trials are lacking. Specifically, this review addresses the epidemiology, clinical presentation and course, risk factors, and treatment of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, with a special focus on the pediatric population.

Keywords: anticoagulants; cerebral hemorrhage; intracranial thrombosis; low-molecular-weight heparin; sinus thrombosis; venous thromboembolism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Anticoagulants / adverse effects
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Coagulation / drug effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Endovascular Procedures* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial / blood
  • Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial / diagnostic imaging
  • Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial / epidemiology
  • Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anticoagulants