Cavernous sinus thrombosis is a blood clot in an area at the base of the brain that contains a vein, which carries blood from the brain to the heart. This area is called the cavernous sinus.
Cavernous sinus thrombosis is usually caused by a bacterial infection that has spread from the sinuses, teeth, ears, eyes, nose, or skin of the face.
You are more likely to get this condition if you have an increased risk of blood clots.
Bulging eyeball, usually on one side of face
Cannot move the eye in a particular direction
Exams and Tests
Tests that may be ordered include:
CT scan of the head
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain
Magnetic resonance venogram
Cavernous sinus thrombosis is treated with high-dose antibiotics given through a vein (IV).
Sometimes surgery is needed to drain the infection.
Cavernous sinus thrombosis can be deadly if left untreated.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your doctor right away if you have:
Bulging of your eyes
Inability to move your eye in any particular direction
Nath A, Berger J. Brain abscess and parameningeal infection. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 421.
Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.