Post-SARS-CoV-2-vaccination cerebral venous sinus thrombosis: an analysis of cases notified to the European Medicines Agency

Eur J Neurol. 2021 Nov;28(11):3656-3662. doi: 10.1111/ene.15029. Epub 2021 Aug 4.


Background and purpose: Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) has been described after vaccination against SARS-CoV-2. The clinical characteristics of 213 post-vaccination CVST cases notified to the European Medicines Agency are reported.

Methods: Data on adverse drug reactions after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination notified until 8 April 2021 under the Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities Term 'Central nervous system vascular disorders' were obtained from the EudraVigilance database. Post-vaccination CVST was compared with 100 European patients with CVST from before the COVID-19 pandemic derived from the International CVST Consortium.

Results: In all, 213 CVST cases were identified: 187 after AstraZeneca/Oxford (ChAdOx1 nCov-19) vaccination and 26 after a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccination (25 with Pfizer/BioNTech, BNT162b2, and one with Moderna, mRNA-1273). Thrombocytopenia was reported in 107/187 CVST cases (57%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 50%-64%) in the ChAdOx1 nCov-19 group, in none in the mRNA vaccine group (0%, 95% CI 0%-13%) and in 7/100 (7%, 95% CI 3%-14%) in the pre-COVID-19 group. In the ChAdOx1 nCov-19 group, 39 (21%) reported COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction tests were performed within 30 days of CVST symptom onset, and all were negative. Of the 117 patients with a reported outcome in the ChAdOx1 nCov-19 group, 44 (38%, 95% CI 29%-47%) had died, compared to 2/10 (20%, 95% CI 6%-51%) in the mRNA vaccine group and 3/100 (3%, 95% CI 1%-8%) in the pre-COVID-19 group. Mortality amongst patients with thrombocytopenia in the ChAdOx1 nCov-19 group was 49% (95% CI 39%-60%).

Conclusions: Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis occurring after ChAdOx1 nCov-19 vaccination has a clinical profile distinct from CVST unrelated to vaccination. Only CVST after ChAdOx1 nCov-19 vaccination was associated with thrombocytopenia.

Keywords: COVID-19 vaccine; CVST; EMA; thrombocytopenia.

MeSH terms

  • BNT162 Vaccine
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • COVID-19*
  • ChAdOx1 nCoV-19
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial*
  • Vaccination / adverse effects


  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • ChAdOx1 nCoV-19
  • BNT162 Vaccine