Cerebral venous thrombosis: diagnosis and management
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In contrast to arterial stroke, cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) is an infrequent condition which presents with a wide spectrum of signs and with a highly variable mode of onset. The clinician must therefore consider it systematically in all brain syndromes and perform the appropriate neuroimaging investigations: computed tomography (CT) with computed tomography angiography and/or magnetic resonance imaging with magnetic resonance angiography and, if necessary intra-arterial angiography. Once the diagnosis is established, a wide investigation for should be carried out in search of the cause, and treatment started as soon as possible. Treatment is based on the combination of intravenous heparin (followed by oral anticoagulants for 3–6 months), symptomatic treatment (anticonvulsants, analgesics, treatment of increased intracranial pressure) and treatment of the cause. Local thrombolysis is indicated if there is deterioration due to thrombosis extension despite adequate anticoagulation. Diagnosis and treatment of CVT should be considered as an emergency because of the considerable potential for full recovery in this condition.
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