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Causes and predictors of death in cerebral venous thrombosis.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The causes of death of patients with cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) have not been systematically addressed in previous studies. We aimed to analyze the causes and predictors of death during the acute phase of CVT in the International Study on Cerebral Vein and Dural Sinus Thrombosis (ISCVT) to identify preventable or treatable causes.

METHODS: ISCVT is a multinational, prospective, observational study including 624 patients with CVT occurring between May 1998 and May 2001, in which 27 patients (4.3%) died during the acute phase, 21 (3.4%) within 30 days from symptom onset. Inclusion forms and a questionnaire assessing the causes of death were analyzed. A logistic regression analysis was performed to identify the predictors of death within 30 days from symptom onset of CVT.

RESULTS: Median time between onset of symptoms and death was 13 days and between diagnosis and death, 5 days. Causes of death were mainly transtentorial herniation due to a unilateral focal mass effect (10 patients) or to diffuse edema and multiple parenchymal lesions (10 patients). Independent predictors of death were coma (odds ratio [OR], 8.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.8 to 27.7), mental disturbance (OR, 2.5; 95% CI 0.9 to 7.3), deep CVT thrombosis (OR, 8.5; 95% CI, 2.6 to 27.8), right intracerebral hemorrhage (OR, 3.4; 95% CI, 1.1 to 10.6), and posterior fossa lesion (OR, 6.5; 95% CI, 1.3 to 31.7). Worsening of previous focal or de novo focal deficits increased the risk of death.

CONCLUSIONS: The main causes of acute death were neurologic, the most frequent mechanism being transtentorial herniation.

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