Perimesencephalic nonaneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage caused by transverse sinus thrombosis: A case report and review of literature

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Abstract

Rationale:

Perimesencephalic nonaneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (PNSAH) is characterized by a pattern of extravasated blood restricted to the perimesencephalic cisterns, normal angiographic findings, and an excellent prognosis with an uneventful course and low risks of complication. The precise etiology of bleeding in patients with PNSAH has not yet been established. The most common hypothesis is that PNSAH is venous in origin. Intracranial venous hypertension has been considered as the pivotal factor in the pathogenesis of PNSAH. The underlying venous pathology such as straight sinus stenosis, jugular vein occlusion may contribute to PNSAH. We describe a patient in whom transverse sinus thrombosis preceded intracranial venous hypertension and PNSAH. These findings supported that the source of the subarachnoid hemorrhage is venous in origin.

Patient concerns and diagnoses:

A 45-year-old right-handed man was admitted to the hospital with a sudden onset of severe headache associated with nausea, vomiting, and mild photophobia for 6 hours. The patient was fully conscious and totally alert. An emergency brain computed tomography (CT) revealed an acute subarachnoid hemorrhage restricted to the perimesencephalic cisterns. CT angiography revealed no evidence of an intracranial aneurysm or underlying vascular malformation. Digital subtraction angiography of arterial and capillary phases confirmed the CT angiographic findings. Assessment of the venous phase demonstrated right transverse sinus thrombosis. Magnetic resonance imaging confirmed the diagnosis of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST). Lumbar puncture revealed an opening pressure of 360 mmH2O, suggestive of intracranial venous hypertension. Grave disease was diagnosed by endocrinological investigation.

Interventions:

Low-molecular-weight heparin, followed by oral warfarin, was initiated immediately as the treatment for cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and PNSAH.

Outcomes:

The patient discharged without any neurologic defect after 3 weeks of hospital stay. MR venography revealed recanalization of right transverse sinus at the 6-month follow-up. No clinical or neuroimaging evidence of relapse was detected at 12 months follow-up.

Lessons:

Hyperthyroidism may contribute to the development of CVST. The presence of acute transverse sinus thrombosis, as a cause of PNSAH, provides further support for the hypothesis that the source of PNSAH is venous in origin and intracranial venous hypertension plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of PNSAH.

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