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Cerebral Venous Thrombosis- Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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Cerebral Venous Thrombosis- Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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Cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) is an atypical blood clot in the brain's venous sinuses. Keep reading the article to learn more about this condition.

Written by

Dr. Shikha

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Abhishek Juneja

Published At July 29, 2022
Reviewed AtMay 27, 2024

What Is Cerebral Venous Thrombosis?

When a blood clot formation occurs in the brain's venous sinuses, it is known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST). Because of this, blood cannot drain out of the brain, and blood cells may rupture, leaking blood into the brain tissues and causing a hemorrhage.

What Are the Causes and Risk Factors of Cerebral Venous Thrombosis?

Cerebral venous thrombosis is a very uncommon type of stroke. Every year, it affects roughly five people out of every million. In neonates, the risk of this type of stroke (brain damage caused by lack of enough blood supply) is highest during the first month.

A variety of factors can cause clots in the brain. Adults, children, and infants have different risk factors, and this condition affects women more than men.

The following are some of the risk factors for children and newborns:

  • Sickle cell disease (inherited blood disorder affecting the shape of red blood cells).

  • Beta-thalassemia (inherited blood disorder affecting the production of beta hemoglobin) major.

  • Inherited or developed heart disease.

  • Iron deficiency.

  • Infections that affect the ear, face, or neck are the most common.

  • Dehydration.

  • Injuries to the head.

  • Issues with blood clotting.

Adults are at risk because of the following factors:

  • The first few weeks following the delivery and during pregnancy.

  • Antiphospholipid syndrome, antithrombin III deficiency, S deficiency, protein C lupus anticoagulant, or factor V Leiden mutation are all examples of blood clotting problems.

  • Cancer.

  • Lupus, Wegener's granulomatosis, and Behcet syndrome are all collagen vascular disorders.

  • Obesity.

  • Intracranial hypotension is when there is a drop in blood pressure in the brain.

  • Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis are examples of inflammatory bowel disease.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Cerebral Venous Thrombosis?

A clot in a cerebral vein can induce pressure in the brain, resulting in edema. In the worst-case scenario, this pressure can result in migraines and damage the brain tissue.

The symptoms differ depending on the location of the blood clot in the brain. However, the following are some of the more common CVT symptoms:

  • Terrible throbbing headaches.

  • Vision problems with the blurring of eyesight.

  • Nausea and vomiting.

If one experiences a more severe form of cerebral venous thrombosis, one may get stroke-like symptoms. These can include the following:

  • Slurred speech.

  • Numbness and weakness on one side of the body.

  • Decreased vigilance of the patient.

Other signs and symptoms of severe CVT are:

  • Seizures (uncontrolled electrical activity occurring between the brain cells).

  • Limited motion in parts of the body.

  • Fainting.

  • Coma.

  • Death.

How Is Cerebral Venous Thrombosis Diagnosed?

People who have suffered any form of stroke do best if they receive therapy as soon as possible. If one thinks that they are having a stroke, have someone transport them to the emergency room right away or phone a medical professional for assistance.

Typically, doctors will obtain a medical history and do a physical examination. Especially if the individual who had the stroke is unconscious, family and friends can recount the symptoms they saw. On the other hand, the ultimate diagnosis is frequently determined based on how blood flows through the brain. Areas of blood flow are seen in imaging studies. These tests can help a patient and their medical professionals figure out if they have venous sinus thrombosis:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - To check for bleeding or clots.

  • Computerized Tomography (CT) Scans - Can also help detect the clot.

  • Venography - It is a type of X-ray that employs a contrast material injection to show how blood flows through the veins. The doctor may use it to look for blood clots.

  • Angiography - This is an X-ray procedure that examines blood arteries. Because blood vessels are difficult to see on a standard X-ray, a special dye must be injected into the blood beforehand. This draws attention to the blood vessels, making it easier for the doctor to spot any abnormalities.

  • Ultrasound.

  • Blood test.

What Is the Treatment for Cerebral Venous Thrombosis?

Treatment options for CVT are determined by the severity of the illness. The primary therapy goals are to prevent or dissolve blood clots in the brain.


Anticoagulants, or blood thinners, may be prescribed by doctors to assist in preventing blood clotting and the spread of the clot. Heparin, which is injected directly into veins or beneath the skin, is usually the most recommended medicine.

Once the doctor determines that the patient is stable, they may prescribe an oral blood thinner, such as Warfarin, regularly. If the patient has a recognized blood clotting condition, this can help them avoid repeated blood clots.

Doctors treat the symptoms of CVT in addition to preventing blood clots. If the patient has a seizure as a result of this illness, the doctor prescribes anti-seizure medicine to assist in managing the situation. Similarly, if the patient gets stroke-like symptoms, they will be admitted to a stroke or intensive care unit (ICU).


Doctors will monitor brain activity in all cases of CVT. In order to check thrombosis and ensure there are no new clots, follow-up venograms, and imaging studies are recommended. Follow-ups are also necessary to ensure that cerebral venous thrombosis does not lead to clotting disorders, malignancies, or other consequences. Additional blood tests will most likely be ordered to discover whether the patient has any clotting abnormalities that may have raised their risk of CVT.

Surgical Intervention

Doctors may propose surgery to remove the blood clot or thrombi and to repair the blood vessels in more severe cases of cerebral venous thrombosis. Thrombectomy is the medical term for this treatment. Doctors may use a balloon or other device to keep blood arteries from shutting during some thrombectomy operations.

What Are the Complications of Cerebral Venous Thrombosis?

  • Vision problems.

  • Impaired speech.

  • Pressure on nerves.

  • Headache.

  • Brain injury.

  • Difficulty in moving body parts.

  • Developmental delay.

  • Increased pressure (fluid) in the skull.

  • Death.


A CVST affects about 80 percent of people, and almost all of them recover completely. However, depending on the severity of the stroke, returning to normal would take weeks or even months. The patient may experience persistent symptoms, such as headaches or seizures. To keep track of the progress, one needs to see the doctor regularly. Ask the doctor if any of the prescription medications could increase the risk of a blood clot. If the patient is unsure where to begin, talk to a medical professional about what lifestyle choices are best for them.

Frequently Asked Questions


How Can Cerebral Venous Thrombosis Be Treated? Can It Be Cured? Is Thrombosis Treated Surgically?

Cerebral thrombosis is a clinical condition occurring due to the clotting of blood. This condition can be cured by treating the patients with antiplatelet medication like heparin, warfarin, etc. Surgical management of thrombosis is only preferred when the clot size is enormous.


What Are the Drugs That Cause Cerebral Venous Thrombosis?

There are specific medications that act as predisposing factors for cerebral venous thrombosis, and they are:
- Oral contraceptives.
- Asparaginase
- Methotrexate
- Cisplatin
- Steroids
- Lithium.


What Are the Signs Of Cerebral Venous Thrombosis?

The clinical signs of cerebral venous thrombosis are:
- Blurred vision.
- Headache
- Loss of bodily controls
- Unconsciousness.
- Seizures 
- Coma


How Is Cerebral Venous Thrombosis Diagnosed?

The diagnostic aids used for diagnosing cerebral venous thrombosis are:
- Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain.
- Computed tomography of the brain.
- Magnetic resonance venography.
- Cerebral angiography
- Cerebral venography.


How Does Cerebral Venous Thrombosis Felt Cause Headaches?

Headaches due to cerebral venous thrombosis are one of the most common clinical symptoms seen in almost ninety percent of patients. The headache usually lasts up to one month and is progressive and diffuse.


Is Thrombosis Self Healing? Can Thrombosis Be Cured with Exercise?

Yes, thrombosis is a condition usually seen to dissolve by itself, but in cases of discomfort, pain, or swelling, the state is considered a medical emergency. However, exercises can reduce the formation of blood clots to a considerable extent and prevent the dislodgement of thrombus from deep veins of the leg.


Is Thrombosis a Permanent Condition? How Long Will It Take To Recover from Thrombosis?

No thrombosis is not a permanent condition and can regress by undergoing treatment. Patients generally recover from this condition within three to six months.


What Are the Diet Restrictions to Be Followed After Cerebral Venous Thrombosis?

The diet restrictions to be followed after cerebral venous thrombosis are:
- To follow a low-fat diet with an increased intake of fiber and greens.
The foods to be avoided are:
- Sugars
- Refined processed food 
- Processed meats
- Trans fats.
Dr. Abhishek Juneja
Dr. Abhishek Juneja



cerebral venous thrombosis
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