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    Cavernous sinus thrombosis

    Cavernous sinus thrombosis is a blood clot in an area at the base of the brainthat contains a vein, which carries blood from the brain to the heart.This area is called the cavernous sinus.


    Cavernous sinus thrombosis is usually caused bya bacterial infection that has spread from the sinuses, teeth, ears, eyes, nose, or skin of the face.

    You are more likely to get this condition if you have an increased risk of blood clots.


    • Bulging eyeball, usually on one side of face
    • Cannot move the eye in a particular direction
    • Drooping eyelids
    • Headaches
    • Vision loss

    Exams and Tests

    Tests that may be ordered include:

    • CT scan of the head
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain
    • Magnetic resonance venogram
    • Sinus x-ray


    Cavernous sinus thrombosis is treated with high-doseantibiotics given through a vein (IV).

    Sometimes surgery is needed to drain the infection.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Cavernous sinus thrombosis can be deadly if left untreated.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your doctor right away if you have:

    • Bulging of your eyes
    • Drooping eyelids
    • Eye pain
    • Inability to move your eye in any particular direction
    • Vision loss


    Nath A, Berger J. Brain abscess and parameningeal infection.In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA:Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 421.


    • Sinuses


      • Sinuses


      A Closer Look

        Self Care

          Tests for Cavernous sinus thrombosis

            Review Date: 3/14/2012

            Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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