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Diagnosis / Dural Venous Sinus Thrombosis

What is Dural Venous Sinus Thrombosis (DVST)?

Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) occurs when a blood clot forms in the brain’s venous sinuses, preventing blood from draining out of the brain. As a result, blood cells may break and leak blood into the brain tissues, forming a hemorrhage. There are several types of CVST: dural venous sinus thrombosis, cortical vein thrombosis and deep cerebral vein thrombosis. Each of these can appear very similar and be difficult to distinguish via imaging. They also often exist together.

Dural venous sinus thrombosis (DVST) can affect men and women of any age, but it is more likely to present in women who are pregnant or on birth control pills.

Risk Factors for Dural Venous Sinus Thrombosis

There are several causes of DVST, the main risk factors include:

  • Hormonal changes, such as those caused by the oral contraceptive pill, pregnancy, steroids, or hypothyroidism
  • Abnormalities of the skull
  • Skull trauma
  • Infections of the mastoid sinus (behind the middle ear)
  • Systemic illnesses, such as dehydration, sepsis or connective tissue disorders
  • Cancer
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Folic acid deficiency

What are the Symptoms of Dural Venous Sinus Thrombosis?

DVST symptoms may vary; responding quickly to these symptoms makes it more possible to recover.

  • Headache
  • Decreased or altered consciousness
  • Decreased or altered vision
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Seizures

How is Dural Venous Sinus Thrombosis Diagnosed and Evaluated?

Due to increased risk factors, pregnant women and women on birth control pills may be monitored more closely for symptoms of DVST. Should DVST (or any other CVST) be suspected, imaging tests will typically be ordered.

  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Cerebral angiography

IVC’s Treatment for Dural Venous Sinus Thrombosis

If left untreated, CVSTs present up to a 48 percent mortality rate. Studies have estimated that with treatment, patients have up to a 62.5 percent full recovery rate.

At IVC, we offer a minimally invasive treatment option, catheter directed thrombolysis. This procedure is used to dissolve dangerous clots in your blood vessels, improve blood flow, and prevent organ and tissue damage.

A cerebral venous thrombosis is a medical emergency and requires immediate care. The faster the thrombosis is treated, the better the outlook for the person. Cerebral venous thrombosis can be fatal, but it can be treated, minimizing damage and the potential for further disability.

* This information about Dural Venous Sinus Thrombosis was reviewed by Dr. Jason R. Bauer. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us using the form below.

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Jason Bauer, MD RVT
Michael Pfister, MD RVT

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