What is cavernous sinus thrombosis?

Cavernous sinus thrombosis is a condition involves the formation of a blood within the cavernous sinuses. This can be a life-threatening condition.

The cavernous sinuses are vacant regions found beneath the brain at the back of each eye socket. A main blood vessel, specifically the jugular vein transports blood via the cavernous sinuses out of the brain.

In most cases, a blood clot might form if an infection inside skull or face radiates to the cavernous sinuses. The blood clot arises as an attempt to prevent the infection from spreading further, but can disrupt with the flow of blood from the brain. As a result, the brain, eyes and nerves amidst them are damaged.



Intense, sharp headache especially around the eye.

  • Intense, sharp headache especially around the eye
  • Double vision
  • Swollen and bulging of the eye and adjacent tissues
  • Severe eye pain

Management of cavernous sinus thrombosis

Cavernous sinus thrombosis requires treatment in a healthcare facility. Generally, the individual is cared for in an intensive care unit for close monitoring.


Antibiotics are vital in managing cavernous sinus thrombosis. The treatment is started as soon as possible even before the tests confirm a bacterial infection as the cause.

In case the test results did not detect a bacterial infection, the antibiotics are stopped. In most instances, a 3-4-week course of intravenous antibiotics is required to ensure that the infection is eliminated.


In some instances, heparin which is an anticoagulant is given to dissolve the clot and prevent further formation. This medication works by making the blood less sticky.


Corticosteroids might be given to lessen the inflammation and swelling in the body.

Surgical drainage

In case the indications of cavernous sinus thrombosis were brought about by an infection such as sinusitis or from a boil, drainage of the pus from the site might be required.

Length of treatment

Remember that it requires several weeks of antibiotic therapy to ensure that the infection has settled. Nevertheless, it might take a long time for the individual to fully recover and it might be several months before he/she is well enough to be discharged from the hospital.


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