Hypoplasia or occlusion of the ipsilateral cranial venous drainage is associated with early fatal edema of middle cerebral artery infarction

Wengui Yu, Joanna Rives, Babu Welch, Jonathan White, Edward Stehel, Duke Samson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE-: Thrombosis of the cerebral venous sinus may cause venous congestion, cerebral edema, and infarction. The role of cerebrovenous disorders in arterial ischemic stroke is unknown. The objective of this study was to examine the contribution of ipsilateral cranial venous abnormalities to the development of cerebral edema in middle cerebral artery infarction. METHODS-: This is a retrospective study of consecutive patients with large middle cerebral artery infarction admitted to our neurocritical care unit from January 2007 to October 2008. Medical records, laboratory data, and imaging of cerebral edema and cranial venous sinuses were analyzed. RESULTS-: Of the 14 patients identified to have large middle cerebral artery infarction and images of cranial venous drainages, 5 (35.7%) had fatal edema with clinical signs of transtentorial herniation. Four of the 5 patients developed fatal edema within 48 hours of ictus and were found to have abnormal ipsilateral cranial venous drainage, including atresia of the transverse sinus (one), occlusion of the internal jugular vein (one), and hypoplasia of the transverse sinus and internal jugular vein (2). The fifth patient had symmetrical bilateral cranial venous drainages and fatal edema at Day 5. Of the 9 patients with nonmalignant middle cerebral artery infarction, all had ipsilateral dominant or symmetrical bilateral venous drainages. CONCLUSIONS-: In this small case series, we demonstrated that only the patients with hypoplasia or occlusion of the ipsilateral cranial venous drainage developed early fatal edema after large middle cerebral artery infarction. Our results suggest a role of cranial venous outflow abnormalities in the development of brain edema after arterial ischemic stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3736-3739
Number of pages4
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Cranial venous sinus
  • Fatal edema
  • MCA infarction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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