What are the signs and symptoms of cavernous sinus thrombosis (CST)?

Updated: Jul 16, 2018
  • Author: Rahul Sharma, MD, MBA, FACEP; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Answer

The early signs and symptoms of cavernous sinus thrombosis (CST) may not be specific. A patient who presents with headache and any cranial nerve findings should be potentially evaluated for CST. The most common signs of CST are related to the anatomical structures affected within the cavernous sinus, as depicted in the image below.

Anatomy of cross section of cavernous sinus showin Anatomy of cross section of cavernous sinus showing close proximity to cranial nerves and sphenoid sinus.

Patients generally have sinusitis or a midface infection (most commonly a furuncle) for 5-10 days. In as many as 25% of cases in which a furuncle is the precipitant, it will have been manipulated in some fashion (eg, squeezing, surgical incision).


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