Cavernous sinus thrombosisComplications

Up to 1 in 3 people with cavernous sinus thrombosis may die. Some people who survive it are left with ongoing symptoms such as seizures (fits) and severe headaches.

Up to 1 in 3 people with cavernous sinus thrombosis may die. Some people who survive it are left with ongoing symptoms such as seizures (fits) and severe headaches.

It can also cause further problems with vision, blood clots and infections.

Vision problems

Problems with vision are a relatively common complication of cavernous sinus thrombosis.

A few people have a degree of permanent visual impairment, although permanent blindness is uncommon.

Blood clots

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

These conditions are very serious and can be fatal.

Infection

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 a stiff neck, mental confusion and sensitivity to light
  • sepsis or blood poisoning – this can cause symptoms such as chills, a fast heartbeat and rapid breathing

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

Page last reviewed: 25/04/2018
Next review due: 25/04/2021