Sinus Thrombosis (Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis)

A cavernous sinus thrombosis is a blood clot in the cavernous sinuses – hollow spaces at the base of the brain behind each eye socket. Cavernous sinus thrombosis, or CST, generally forms after an infection spreads elsewhere. The clot can interfere with blood flow, placing pressure on the brain.

Overview

Symptoms

The most common symptom of a cavernous sinus thrombosis is a headache, which usually develops as a sharp pain behind or around the eyes and steadily gets worse. Occasionally, a person might get a “thunderclap headache,” which is a sudden severe headache. 

Other sinus thrombosis symptoms include:

  • Loss of vision, double vision or blurred vision
  • Pain in the sinus area
  • Pain or pressure in the ear
  • Swollen or bulging eyes

Diagnosis

First, you’ll meet with your doctor for a physical exam and to discuss your symptoms. Then, your doctor may order imaging tests, such as an MRI, CT scan or angiogram, to confirm the presence of a clot.

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Treatment Options

If you have cavernous sinus thrombosis, your Aurora team, including neurologists and neurosurgeons, will work with you to determine the best treatment options.

Treatment may include:

  • Prescription corticosteroids or high-dose antibiotics given through an IV
  • Surgery to drain the infected tissue

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