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Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis

Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis

Cavernous sinus thrombosis is a blood clot that forms in the base of your brain where a vein exists. This vein carried blood from your brain directly to your heart, and is an area called the cavernous sinus. When the vein gets a blood clot, it is called cavernous sinus thrombosis which prevents proper blood from the brain to the heart. It is an infection that can cause possible complications including a life-threatening situation if you don’t get proper treatment. Treatments include antibiotics and possible drainage during an outpatient surgical procedure.

Causes of Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis

Cavernous sinus thrombosis is most commonly caused by an infection that spreads from the ears, nose, sinuses or teeth. The bacteria is either streptococcus or staphylococcus. It can also be caused from an infection in the skin of the face though this is more uncommon. If you have an increased risk of getting blood clots or have a blood disease, you are at a higher risk of getting cavernous sinus thrombosis.

Symptoms of Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis

There are a variety of symptoms associated with cavernous sinus thrombosis include a loss of vision or gradually decreasing vision, bulging eyes also known as exophthalmos which usually occurs on one side of the face only, headaches, not being able to move the eye in a certain direction, drooping eyelids, or paralysis of the cranial nerves that go through the cavernous sinus.

Diagnosing Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis

If you are showing any of the above signs and symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, this infection can be life threatening. Your physician will do a physical exam followed by a series of tests including a CT scan of the head, magnetic resonance venogram, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of your brain, and a sinus x-ray. These tests will look for possible signs of infection so that you can begin with a proper course of treatment immediately.

Treating Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis

Cavernous sinus thrombosis is a very dangerous infection that can be life threatening if it spreads, worsens, or is not properly treated. This is why you should see your doctor immediately if you experience any of the common symptoms. The treatment will usually begin with a high-dose of antibiotics given through an IV in one of your veins, as this is the quickest and most effective way to get rid of the infection. Surgery may also be needed which will include draining the infection, followed by a round of high-dose antibiotics. If you experience symptoms like headaches, dropping eyelids, loss of vision, bulging eyes and paralysis of the eyes or face, you should consider this combination of symptoms an emergency and seek medical attention so the infection can be treated as soon as possible.
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