In severe cases, posttraumatic cerebral sinus thrombosis can result in venous congestion and persistent intracranial hypertension refractory to both conventional medical therapy and surgical decompression. The authors report a unique case of a patient successfully treated with endovascular mechanical thrombolysis using balloon angioplasty for clinically significant posttraumatic venous sinus thrombosis and review the reported treatments for cerebral venous sinus occlusive disease.
This 18-year-old man suffered severe closed head injury from a fall while skateboarding. A head CT scan demonstrated basilar skull fractures involving the left jugular foramen. A CT angiogram revealed thrombosis of the left transverse sinus and occlusion of the sigmoid sinus and internal jugular vein. Despite treatment with anticoagulation therapy and decompressive hemi- and suboccipital craniectomies, intracranial hypertension remained refractory. Serial angiography demonstrated progressive sinus occlusion. Endovascular balloon thrombolysis of the left transverse and sigmoid sinuses resulted in immediate reduction of intracranial pressures and improved sinus patency. Intracranial pressure measurements remained low after the procedure. The patient eventually improved neurologically, was able to follow commands and walk, and was discharged to a rehabilitation facility for further recovery.
Anticoagulation therapy, surgical decompression, and endovascular thrombolysis have been reported as treatment modalities for clinically significant posttraumatic venous sinus thrombosis. In this case, endovascular mechanical thrombolysis with balloon angioplasty resulted in resolution of thrombus and successful immediate reduction of intracranial pressure. This treatment may be considered in patients with critically elevated intracranial pressure from posttraumatic venous sinus occlusion refractory to other treatment measures.