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Superior Sagittal Sinus Thrombosis can be a Life Threatening Medical Complication of Firearm Related Brain Injury

Categories: Firearm Related Brain Injury

The Question

What is sagittal sinus syndrome, and when might it occur following a firearm related traumatic brain injury?

Past Studies  

Past Studies have focused on small numbers of people and their short term medical survival needs. Few studies have examined the potential long term medical complications of survivors. Many studies have been conducted on the military population. The aftereffects of gunshot wounds to civilians and military populations may not be the same because of the differences in the caliber of weapons and the bullets. Studies are lacking for civilians with gunshot wounds.

This Study

This Study examines three cases of superior sagittal sinus thrombosis in young adults with traumatic brain injury from civilian gunshot wounds. Superior sagittal sinus thrombosis is a medical complication that can occur after a gunshot wound to the brain. It is a serious condition and can be life threatening . It can occur at anytime following injury. The authors describe three case studies in which superior sagittal sinus thrombosis occurred at different times in the recovery process, with different symptoms, and required different treatments.

Who May Be Affected By These Findings

Persons with traumatic brain injury from gunshot wounds and service providers.


Clear data are lacking for treatment duration. The authors indicate that there is a lack of agreement on how to best treat superior sagittal sinus thrombosis with medication.

Bottom Line

Superior sagittal sinus thrombosis is a severe and significant complication, that can occur within days, weeks, or months of a firearm related brain injury. Rehabilitation professionals and persons with traumatic brain injury from firearms need to be alert for clinical symptoms of superior sagittal sinus thrombosis for an extended amount of time. Symptoms can include headache , seizures, partial paralysis, coma, vision changes, dilated pupils, and drowsiness.

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Find This Study


Zafonte, R.; Black, K.; Mann, N.; Nepa, S.; & Watanabe, T. (1998). Superior sagittal sinus thrombosis: A complication of gunshot wound injuries to the brain. NeuroRehabilitation, (10), 61-66.

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