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Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis Syndrome Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy The cavernous sinus is a large channel of venous blood creating a "sinus" cavity bordered by the sphenoid bone and the temporal bone of the skull. The cavernous sinus is an important structure because of its location and its contents which include the third cranial (oculomotor) nerve, the fourth cranial (trochlear) nerve, parts 1 (the ophthalmic nerve) and 2 (the maxillary nerve) of the fifth cranial (trigeminal) nerve, and the sixth cranial (abducens) nerve.

A cavernous sinus thrombosis is a blood clot within the cavernous sinus. A thrombosis (clot) at this key crossroad of venous drainage causes the cavernous sinus syndrome which is characterized by edema (swelling) of the eyelids and the conjunctivae of the eyes and paralysis of the cranial nerves which course through the cavernous sinus. This produces great difficulty in voluntary movements of the eye, drooping of the eyelid(s), bulging of the eyeball(s), swelling of the white part of the eye surrounding the iris (the colored part of the eye), a condition known as "chemosis," and disturbance of sensation in the skin above the lips.

Most cases of septic CST are due to an acute infection in an otherwise healthy individual. However, patients with chronic sinusitis or diabetes mellitus may be at a slightly higher risk. The causative agent is generally Staphylococcus aureus, although streptococci, pneumococci, and fungi may be implicated in rare cases.



The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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