The aim of this study is to describe the clinical characteristics of patients with skull fracture adjacent to a dural venous sinus (DVS) and evaluate the role of CT venography (CTV) in the diagnosis of the effect of this fracture on the involved DVS.
The study comprised patients with vault or skull base fracture adjacent to a DVS who were admitted to 1 medical center during a 2-year period. The medical records were reviewed for the clinical and radiographic characteristics. All patients had undergone CTV to evaluate potential DVS pathology. The clinical and radiological findings of the patients with DVS pathology were compared with those of the patients with normal DVS. The groups were compared using the chi-square and t-tests for categorical and continuous data, respectively. The potential risk for poor outcome among the patients with DVS pathology was also investigated.
Of 434 patients with skull fractures, 41 (9.4%) had fractures adjacent to a DVS. DVS pathology was detected in 51% of patients (21 of 41 patients). For 9 (43%) patients, obstruction was extraluminal without thrombosis, and 12 (57%) patients had dural sinus thrombosis (DST). In patients with a positive-CTV scan, the severity of injury according to the Glasgow Coma Scale score at presentation was correlated with the presence of DST (p = 0.007). The sensitivity of noncontrast CT (NCCT) for DVS involvement was 38% among the patients with positive-CTV scans. For patients with DVS pathology, poor outcome was correlated with DST (intraluminal), rather than extraluminal obstruction without thrombosis (p = 0.02), and superior sagittal sinus (SSS) involvement (p = 0.05).
NCCT is not sensitive enough to detect DVS obstruction in patients with skull fracture adjacent to a DVS, and CTV should be performed in order to rule it out. A correlation was found between the severity of injury and the presence of DST, rather than extraluminal obstruction. The authors' findings suggest that DST and SSS involvement may be indicators of poor outcome in patients with skull fracture adjacent to DVS.