World Thrombosis Day

Open Your Eyes to Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis (CVST)


Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) occurs when a blood clot forms in the brain’s venous sinuses. The clot keeps blood from draining out of the brain. As a result, blood cells may break and leak blood into the brain tissues. This causes a hemorrhage.

This chain of events is part of a stroke that can occur in adults and children. It can occur even in newborns and babies in the womb. A stroke can damage the brain and central nervous system. A stroke is serious and needs medical attention right away.

What Causes CVST? 
CVST is a rare form of stroke. It affects about 5 people in 1 million each year. The risk for this kind of stroke in newborns is greatest during the first month. Overall, about 3 out of 300,000 children and teens up to age 18 will have a stroke.

Who is at risk for CVST? 
Children and adults have different risk factors for CVST.

Risk factors for adults include:

  • Pregnancy and the first few weeks after delivery
  • Problems with blood clotting such as antiphospholipid syndrome, protein C and S deficiency, antithrombin III deficiency, lupus anticoagulant, anticardiolipin antibodies, or factor V Leiden mutation
  • Cancer
  • Estrogen-based medicine such as contraceptives 
  • Collagen vascular diseases such as lupus, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, and Behcet syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Low blood pressure in the brain (intracranial hypotension)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Very rare: Covid-19 adenovirus vaccines 

Risk factors for children and infants include:

  • Problems with the way their blood forms clots
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Chronic hemolytic anemia
  • Beta-thalassemia major
  • Heart disease, which can be congenital or acquired 
  • Iron deficiency
  • Certain infections
  • Dehydration
  • Head injury
  • For newborns, a mother who had certain infections or a history of infertility
  • Very rare: Covid-19 adenovirus vaccines 

Symptoms Include:

  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Loss of control over movement in part of the body, seizures and coma

If you have CVST, respond quickly to symptoms like headaches, blurry vision, fainting, losing control of a part of your body, and seizures. Contact your health care professional if you have any questions or concerns.