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Definition Return to top
Cavernous sinus thrombosis is a blood clot in the cavernous sinus. The cavernous sinus is a cavity at the base of the brain that contains a vein, several nerves, and other structures. The vein carries deoxygenated blood from the brain and face back to the heart.
The vein and cavity run between the large bone at the base of the skull (sphenoid bone) and temporal bone (near the temple).
Causes Return to top
The cause of cavernous sinus thrombosis is usually a bacterial infection that has spread from the sinuses, ears, eyes, nose, or skin of the face.
Symptoms Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to top
Tests that may be ordered include:
Treatment Return to top
Cavernous sinus thrombosis is treated with high-dose intravenous (through a vein) antibiotics. Sometimes surgery is needed to drain the infection.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Cavernous sinus thrombosis can be fatal. However, the death rate of this condition has improved tremendously since the introduction of antibiotics.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your doctor right away if you have:
References Return to top
Goldman L, Ausiello D. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2007:2717.Update Date: 8/18/2008 Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. James R. Mason, MD, Oncologist, Director, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and Stem Cell Processing Lab, Scripps Clinic, Torrey Pines, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.