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Traumatic Bilateral Jugular Vein Thrombosis: Case Report and Review of the Literature

Duke, Bryan J. MD; Ryu, Robert K. MD; Brega, Kerry E. MD; Coldwell, Douglas M. MD, PhD

Case Reports

OBJECTIVE AND IMPORTANCE: Thrombosis of the internal jugular vein (IJV) with associated elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) is a rare complication of central venous catheterization but has not been reported as a result of blunt trauma.

CLINICAL PRESENTATION: An 18-year-old male patient was observed to be obtunded after an assault. The initial examination was remarkable for somnolence, bruising of the anterior neck, and diffuse, edematous swelling of the face and scalp. The results of computed tomography of the brain were normal. An angiogram obtained on the 2nd hospital day to rule out carotid injury revealed bilateral IJV thromboses to the cranial base. An ICP monitor was placed with an opening pressure of 33 mm Hg. The central venous pressure was measured to be 9 mm Hg. A catheter was passed through the left IJV thrombus and into the sigmoid sinus, where the pressure was 17 mm Hg.

INTERVENTION: An intravascular stent was deployed in the left IJV. ICP rapidly normalized. A regimen of coumadin was administered to the patient for 6 weeks, at which time the stent remained patent.

CONCLUSION: We conclude that traumatic jugular vein thrombosis can be associated with significant elevation in ICP and that treatment with an endovascular stent can affect the rapid correction of intracranial hypertension in patients who are candidates for anticoagulation.

Division of Neurosurgery (BJD, KEB) and Department of Radiology (RKR, DMC), University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and Denver Health Medical Center, Denver, Colorado

Received, August 27, 1996. Accepted, April 7, 1997.

Reprint requests: Kerry E. Brega, M.D., Department of Surgery, 777 Bannock Street, Denver, CO 80204-4507.

Copyright © by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons