Deep cerebral venous thrombosis: an illustrative case with reversible diencephalic dysfunction

D J Gladstone, F L Silver, R A Willinsky, F J Tyndel, R Wennberg
Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences. le Journal Canadien des Sciences Neurologiques 2001, 28 (2): 159-62

BACKGROUND: Isolated thrombosis of the deep cerebral veins is rare and its diagnosis can be difficult. Mortality is often high and little is known about the long-term prognosis.

CASE REPORT: We report a 24-year-old woman with akinetic mutism and extensive bilateral thalamic lesions. CT and MRI allowed early diagnosis by demonstrating thrombosis within the internal cerebral veins, without the need for angiography. Heparin treatment was used safely despite the presence of thalamic and intraventricular hemorrhage. After five weeks, the patient recovered rapidly and remains well at 18 months. Serial MRI showed dramatic resolution of the imaging abnormalities.

CONCLUSIONS: The clinical features and characteristic neuroimaging appearance of deep cerebral venous thrombosis should be recognized by physicians caring for stroke patients. Deep cerebral venous thrombosis can produce extensive venous congestion and vasogenic edema without early infarction. Excellent clinical recovery is possible even after severe and prolonged neurological deficits.

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