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Cavernous sinus thrombosis

Complications of cavernous sinus thrombosis

About 1 in 3 people with cavernous sinus thrombosis die, and many people who survive it go on to develop further problems.

The condition leads to long-term symptoms in 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. About 1 in 6 people experience some degree of permanent visual impairment.

However, permanent blindness is less common, affecting around 1 in 160 people.

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.


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.

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