Complications of cavernous sinus thrombosis

About1 in3 peoplewith c avernous sinus thrombosisdie, and many people who survive it go on to develop further problems.

The condition leads to long-term symptomsin around 1 in 10 people, including seizures (fits) and severe Headaches .

Vision problems

Problems with vision are also a relatively common complication of cavernous sinus thrombosis. About1 in6people experience some degree of permanent visual impairment .

However, permanent blindnessis less common, affecting around1 in 160 people.

Blood clots

There's also a risk that another blood clot maydevelop elsewhere in the body for example, in the:

  • legs thisis known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and affects around1 in 40 people
  • lungs thisis known as a pulmonary embolism and affects around1 in 200 people
  • brain this triggers a stroke and affects around1 in 330 people

These conditions are very serious and can be fatal.


Complications can also occur if the infection spreads beyond the cavernous sinuses. These complications can include:

  • meningitis an infection of the outer protective layer of the brain that can cause symptoms such as astiff neck, mental confusion and sensitivity to light
  • sepsis or blood poisoning this can cause symptoms such as chills, afast heartbeat and rapid breathing

Both of these conditions are very serious and can be fatal, particularly if they're not treated promptly.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 28 Nov 2016