Like every organ of our body, the brain has a system of draining veins by which oxygen-depleted blood is channeled back to the lungs, where it can once again be re-oxygenated. This system of draining veins begins as a collection of small channels which fuse with one another as you move away from the brain to form larger and larger veins that finally gather between the brain and the skull bone to form what is called the "dural sinuses". The dural sinuses are the largest canals through which blood flows out of the brain, on its way back to the lungs.
What is dural sinus thrombosis?
Thrombosis is a word that describes the formation of a blood clot, so a dural sinus thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot inside of one of the dural sinuses.
What are the symptoms of dural sinus thrombosis?
One of the known features of dural sinus thrombosis is that it can cause many symptoms which can range from a mere headache to a sudden and complete paralysis of one side of the body:
- More than 90% of people with dural sinus thrombosis complain of severe headaches
- 50% have typical stroke symptoms
- 40% have seizures
How can dural sinus thrombosis cause a stroke?
When a blood clot sits inside of one of the brain's sinuses, it causes a backup of blood inside the venous system of the brain, preventing blood from leaving the brain's tissues. At first, this is not a problem, but as time goes on and new oxygen-rich blood continues to enter the brain's tissues through the arteries, the extra blood begins to cause pressure on the walls of these arteries until they burst, and cause bleeding inside the brain. This event causes what is known as a hemorrhagic stroke.
How is dural sinus thrombosis treated?
In general, those diagnosed with dural sinus thrombosis should receive long term treatment with blood thinners. When dural sinus thombosis causes a large amount of bleeding inside the brain, surgery is required in order to drain the blood out of the skull.
Who is at risk of dural sinus thrombosis?
Some of the conditions or events that make people more likely to form blood clots include:
· Head injury
· The last three months of pregnancy
· Delivering a baby
· The use of birth control pills
· Lumbar punctures (spinal taps)
· Infections, especially in the face, eyes or ears