Cerebral venous thrombosis: analysis of a multicenter cohort from the United States

Mohammad Wasay, Aga Khan University
Rohit Bakshi, Harvard University
George Bobustuc, University of Texas
Suleman Kojan, King Abdul Aziz Medical City
Zubair Sheikh, University of Michigan
Alper Dai, Gaziantep University
Zahid Cheema, Oklahoma University Health Science Center



The data regarding diagnosis, prognosis, management, and outcome of patients with cerebral venous thrombosis are limited from the United States.


Patients with diagnosis of cerebral venous thrombosis were identified by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision coding system at 10 centers in the United States during a 10-year period by retrospective chart review (1991-1997) or prospective enrollment (1997-2001). In all, 232 patients were screened for study inclusion and 182 of these patients were included in the study.


The age range was 13 to 82 years (mean 38 years). Hypercoagulable state was the most common predisposing factor followed by pregnancy, malignancy, and homocystinemia. Neurologic examination revealed normal findings in 69 patients (38%); 37 (20%) were comatose, 59 (32%) had papilledema, and 71 (39%) had hemiparesis. In all, 61 patients (33%) had evidence of hemorrhage by computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging. A total of 27 patients (15%) were treated with thrombolysis and 124 (68%) with anticoagulation. Overall mortality was 13% (n = 24). One-year follow up was available for 96 patients (53%). Of these, 26 (27%) were healthy, 43 (45%) were ambulatory with assistance, and 27 (28%) were still bedridden. On multivariate analysis, the best predictors of a poor outcome were coma at presentation (odds ratio 15.2 [95% confidence interval; 1.5-66]) and intracerebral hemorrhage (odds ratio 8.7 [95% confidence interval; 1.3-34.5]).


Clinical and radiologic presentation of cerebral venous thrombosis in the United States is not much different from other parts of world but spectrum and frequency of predisposing factors are different. Number of patients treated with thrombolysis is higher as compared with other reported series of such patients. Coma at presentation and intracerebral hemorrhage were the strongest predictors of poor outcome, which is comparable with other series.

Key Words: Thrombosis, venous, stroke, magnetic resonance imaging