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Headache. 2018 Sep;58(8):1244-1255. doi: 10.1111/head.13413. Epub 2018 Sep 20.

Cerebral Venous Thrombosis in Spontaneous Intracranial Hypotension: A Report on 4 Cases and a Review of the Literature.

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Department of Neurology, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, PR. China.
Department of Radiology, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, PR. China.
Department of Anesthesiology, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, PR. China.



Spontaneous intracranial hypotension is a risk factor for cerebral venous thrombosis. The occurrence of cerebral venous thrombosis in patients with spontaneous intracranial hypotension raises difficult practical questions regarding the management of the 2 conditions. We reviewed our experience and the relevant literature to evaluate these related questions.


We retrospectively studied the medical records and imaging studies of patients with spontaneous intracranial hypotension at a tertiary center from January 2007 through January 2017. The main search strategy was a literature review of journal articles in PubMed (1966 to January 2017).


Among 374 patients with spontaneous intracranial hypotension, 4 were also diagnosed with cerebral venous thrombosis. A literature review yielded an additional 31 cases, including 21 men and 14 women with a mean age of 40.6 years. Of the 35 patients, 8 (22.8%) patients received anticoagulation therapy and epidural blood patch. Nineteen (54.3%) patients were given anticoagulant only. Seven (20%) patients were treated with epidural blood patch only. One (2.9%) patient did not receive epidural blood patch or anticoagulation therapy. There is no difference in terms of age, sex, diagnosis interval, association with other complications, and prognosis between the first 3 groups. Of the 19 patients who received anticoagulation therapy, 4 patients (21.1%) had intracranial hemorrhage or hematoma enlargement after anticoagulation, and one of these 4 patients died following further intracranial hemorrhage. Of the 8 patients who received both anticoagulation and epidural blood patch, 1 patient (12.5%, P = 0.528) developed subdural hematoma after anticoagulation. Of the 5 cases had intracranial hemorrhage aggravation after anticoagulation, 4 were subdural hematoma occurrence or enlargement.


Cerebral venous thrombosis is a rare but important complication of spontaneous intracranial hypotension. The primary focus of treatment should be the treatment of intracranial hypotension. It could be possible that anticoagulation might increase the risk of intracranial hemorrhage in patients with spontaneous intracranial hypotension, although a firm conclusion could not be drawn based on the limited number of patients currently available. The use of anticoagulation therapy should be prudent and should be monitored carefully if initiated.


anticoagulation treatment; cerebral venous thrombosis; epidural blood patch; headache; spontaneous intracranial hypotension


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