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J Clin Neurol. 2013 Oct;9(4):259-68. doi: 10.3988/jcn.2013.9.4.259. Epub 2013 Oct 31.

Early diagnosis and management of cerebral venous flow obstruction secondary to transsinus fracture after traumatic brain injury.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, 175th Hospital of PLA, Affiliated Southeast Hospital of Xiamen University, Zhangzhou, Fujian, China.



Cerebral venous flow obstruction (CVFO) is a fatal complication of traumatic brain injury. To compare the outcomes of patients with CVFO secondary to traumatic-brain-injury-induced transsinus fracture who were diagnosed early versus those diagnosed late in the therapeutic course.


In total, 403 patients with transsinus fracture were reviewed retrospectively. The patients were divided into an early-diagnosis group (n=338) and a delayed-diagnosis group (n=65). The patients submitted to 2D time-of-flight magnetic resonance venography (2D-TOF MRV) and/or CT venography (CTV), depending upon the findings of intracranial pressure monitoring, in order to identify potentially complicated CVFO. These examinations took place within 3 days of the onset of malignant intracranial hypertension symptoms in the early-diagnosis group, and after an average of 7 days in the delayed-diagnosis group. Once diagnosed, patients received intravenous thrombolytic therapy with low-dose urokinase. Patients with massive transsinus epidural hematoma, depressed fracture, or cerebral hernia were treated surgically to relieve the compression and repair any damage to the venous sinuses.


Cerebral venous flow obstruction was much more severe in the delayed-diagnosis group than in the early-diagnosis group (p<0.001), and hence patients in the former group were given a higher dose of urokinase (p<0.001) for thrombolytic therapy. They were also significantly more likely to need surgery (48.1% vs. 20.6%, p=0.003) and had a higher mortality rate (37.0% vs. 4.1%, p<0.001). However, patients in both groups experienced a similarly favorable prognosis, not only with regard to functional outcome but also with respect to neuroradiological improvement, as evaluated by 2D-TOF MRV/CTV at the final follow-up (p=0.218).


Delayed diagnosis can result in increased risk of surgery and death in the acute phase. Thrombolytic therapy with low-dose urokinase resulted in promising improvements in both functional and neuroradiological outcomes in all of the patients in this study, regardless of the time to diagnosis.


cerebral venous flow obstruction; transsinus epidural hematoma; transsinus fracture; traumatic brain injury; two-dimensional time-of-flight magnetic resonance venography; urokinase

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