The nervous system is the most complicated organ system present in the human body. It is composed of the brain and spinal cord, two parts that control thinking, locomotion, and other processes carried out inside the body. If one of these parts becomes jeopardized, all the natural movements taking place inside the body will be affected, thus, making it very difficult to live normally.
Imagine how the human brain functions every day. It is composed of several interconnected lobes, bones, veins and nerves that are primarily involved in maintaining homeostasis in the body. Even if a single fraction becomes dysfunctional, all the processes occurring in the body will be affected.
Cavernous sinus thrombosis is one of the sinus infections that arise from a single dysfunction in the human brain. Thus, it is essential for people to have sufficient information about this infection. Knowledge about this complication should not be limited to people in the medical field, but also to ordinary people who are risked to have this condition. This article will discuss the causes, symptoms, effects and treatments for a person infected with this specific type of thrombosis. What is Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis?
Cavernous sinus thrombosis is a complication of the cavernous sinus, one of the sections in the brain responsible for facilitating the exchange of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood in the heart. The cavernous sinus, which is also called the lateral sellar component, is composed of veins with relatively thin walls, connected through anastomoses, and adjacent to the sphenoid and temporal bones. Deoxygenated blood that circulated from the internal carotid artery flows to the cavernous sinus, which in turn circulates the oxygen-rich blood to the internal jugular vein. The latter is responsible for delivering oxygenated blood to the heart and to the various carbon dioxide-rich cells in the body.
Cavernous sinus thrombosis is a disorder that involves a blood clot in this component of the brain. This blood coagulation in the brain causes an obstruction in the circulation of blood in the entire body.
It has become one of the most frequent intracranial septic thromboses that have had soaring rates of morbidity and mortality among humans during the past years. It causes death to approximately 50% to people having this illness. Consequently, people have started to become aware of this thrombosis.
What Are Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis Causes?
They are most frequently caused by bacteria from genus Staphyloccocus and Streptococcus, two widespread gram-positive microorganisms. Staphylococcus aureus, which also causes pimples and boils, is the most common microbe to cause the said infection.
Sinusitis and boils are mild infections you have probably heard of in the past.But did you know that these inflammations could lead to cavernous sinus thrombosis? Since the sinus is sensitive to foreign objects, a slight swelling caused by these microorganisms could spread to the cavernous sinus. Furthermore, if you prick your furuncle, the bacteria contained in these inflammations could spread to the cavernous sinus.
Once the cavernous sinus detects the presence of bacteria, the immune system responds to it by coagulating blood to stop the infection from spreading to the body. This is the normal response of the body when they sense the manifestations of foreign microorganisms. Nevertheless, as the immune cells attempt to clot blood, it simultaneously forms a blockage in the brain. The blood no longer flows to the jugular vein, which sequentially, delivers oxygenated blood to the whole body. This impedes the normal circulation of blood in the body, and at the same time, increases the pressure of blood in the brain, while risking the sudden flow of blood.
Another leading cause is a head injury that was incurred in the past. Head injuries may have obstructed the normal blood flow in the brain. This could also result to blood coagulation. Other causes include teeth or gum infections, lupus, and genetic characteristics that make a person’s blood clot more quickly.
Cavernous sinus thrombosis has distinguishing symptoms. Once you feel like you’re experiencing these signs for a few weeks, it would be advisable to see a doctor.
Having a thunderclap headache or a piercing pain in the head that comes out of the blue, is the primary symptom of this infection. This then becomes recurrent after several weeks. When you experience painful headaches that you have never encountered in the past, it is highly recommended you visit a physician. After this, massive changes become apparent in the eyes. The white parts of the eyes are seen to swell and/or redden, while the pupils become uncharacteristically gigantic. It also becomes increasingly difficult to voluntarily move the eyes. Occasionally, they eyes also become easily tired and painful, even without exposing your eyes to strenuous acts.
Aside from the eyes, the whole body can be affected if the infection has spread to the body. Since blood circulates regularly, it can distress your normal body functions. The body starts to become weak as the circulation of microorganisms prolongs. The muscles that function to facilitate movement and locomotion become rather dysfunctional. In addition to this, it becomes more difficult to stay conscious. The worst observable symptom is having speech problems, since the central nervous system (CNS) is unable to carry out internal processes that aid communication.
What are Possible Treatments for Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis?
Treatment is available for people who have this thrombosis. Antibiotics are the primary means utilized in treating this infection. Intravenous drips are often used by physicians. The use of antibiotics has significantly reduced the mortality rate from 100 to 20 percent. Corticosteroid drugs have also been increasingly widespread to reduce the swelling caused by the thrombosis.
In cases wherein antibiotics do not have access to the infected area, surgery is employed as a long-term treatment. Draining the fluid in the brain usually works. Sphenoidotomyis conducted as a means to treat complications wherein sphenoidal sinuses are the primary sites of infection.