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December 1993

Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis: Successful Treatment Using Functional Endonasal Sinus Surgery

Author Affiliations

From the Otolaryngology Consultants of Memphis (Tenn), LeBonheur Children's Medical Center.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1993;119(12):1368-1372. doi:10.1001/archotol.1993.01880240106014

Objective:  Infections of the paranasal sinuses can be complicated by septic thrombosis of the cavernous venous sinuses. After standard antibiotic treatment, fewer than 50% of the patients recover completely, and the mortality rate is approximately 30%. We chose to treat this potentially catastrophic complication with functional endonasal sinus surgery in addition to standard antibiotic therapy.

Design:  Case study.

Patient:  A 15-year-old boy presented to the emergency room of LeBonheur Children's Medical Center, Memphis, Tenn, with right proptosis, chemosis, ptosis, ophthalmoplegia, cranial nerve palsies, and paresthesia. The physical examination and computed tomographic scans of the sinuses and orbits revealed edema of the right orbit and pansinusitis, with secondary right cavernous sinus thrombosis and right superior ophthalmic vein thrombosis.

Intervention:  The patient was started on a regimen of cefuroxime and nafcillin sodium and was scheduled for emergency functional endonasal sinus surgery to drain the primary sites of infection. After surgery, the patient was placed on a 3-week regimen of cefotaxime sodium, metronidazole hydrochloride, vancomycin hydrochloride, and heparin sodium.

Results:  During surgery, the frontal recess and ethmoid, sphenoid, and maxillary sinuses were found to be filled with polypoid tissue and purulent material. Functional endonasal sinus surgery restored the sinuses to their normal physiologic state. The sinuses demonstrated the progress observed clinically.

Conclusions:  The improvement in outcome effected by standard antibiotic therapy can be significantly augmented by using functional endonasal sinus surgery in the treatment of cavernous sinus thrombosis.(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1993;119:1368-1372)

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