cerebral venous thrombosis

MRI findings of elevated intracranial pressure in cerebral venous thrombosis versus idiopathic intracranial hypertension with transverse sinus stenosis

Authors: Ridha MA, Saindane AM, Bruce BB, Riggeal BD, Kelly LP, Newman NJ, Biousse V.

PURPOSE: To determine whether MRI signs suggesting elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) are preferentially found in patients with idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) than in those with cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT).
METHODS: Among 240 patients who underwent standardized contrast-enhanced brain MRI/MRV at our institution between 9/2009 and 9/2011, 60 with abnormal imaging findings on MRV were included: 27 patients with definite IIH, 2 patients with presumed IIH, and 31 with definite CVT. Medical records were reviewed, and imaging studies were prospectively evaluated by the same neuroradiologist to assess for presence or absence of transverse sinus stenosis (TSS), site of CVT if present, posterior globe flattening, optic nerve sheath dilation/tortuosity, and the size/appearance of the sella turcica.
RESULTS: 29 IIH patients (28 women, 19 black, median-age 28, median-body mass index, 34) had bilateral TSS. 31 CVT patients (19 women, 13 black, median-age 46, median-BMI 29) had thrombosis of the sagittal (3), sigmoid (3), cavernous (1), unilateral transverse (7), or multiple (16) sinuses or cortical veins (1). Empty/partially-empty sellae were more common in IIH (3/29 and 24/29) than in CVT patients (1/31 and 19/31) (p<0.001). Flattening of the globes and dilation/tortuosity of the optic nerve sheaths were more common in IIH (20/29 and 18/29) than in CVT patients (13/31 and 5/31) (p<0.04).
CONCLUSION: Although abnormal imaging findings suggestive of raised ICP are more common in IIH, they are not specific for IIH and are found in patients with raised ICP from other causes such as CVT.

Paradoxical presentation of orthostatic headache associated with increased intracranial pressure in patients with cerebral venous thrombosis

Authors: Kim JB, Kwon DY, Park MH, Kim BJ, Park KW.

Headache is the most common symptom of cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT); however, the detailed underlying mechanisms and characteristics of headache in CVT have not been well described. Here, we report two cases of CVT whose primary and lasting presentation was orthostatic headache, suggestive of decreased intracranial pressure. Contrary to our expectations, the headaches were associated with elevated cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure. Magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance venography showed characteristic voiding defects consistent with CVT. We suggest that orthostatic headache can be developed in a condition of decreased intracranial CSF volume in both intracranial hypotensive and intracranial hypertensive states. In these cases, orthostatic headache in CVT might be caused by decreased intracranial CSF volume that leads to the inferior displacement of the brain and traction on pain-sensitive intracranial vessels, despite increased CSF pressure on measurement. CVT should be considered in the differential diagnosis when a patient complains of orthostatic headache.

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