Non-Vitamin K Antagonist Oral Anticoagulants for the Treatment of Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis: a Retrospective, Matched Cohort Analysis

James A. Giles, Vamshi K.S. Balasetti, Allyson Zazulia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: The management of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVT) is a common problem facing vascular neurologists. American Heart Association/American Stroke Association guidelines suggest the use of heparin followed by vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) for anticoagulation in CVT. In recent years, the evidence base has solidified for the use of non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) in lower extremity deep vein thrombosis. Because data supporting their use in CVT are limited, with the strongest evidence comprising one randomized controlled trial of dabigatran, we sought to review our experience with NOACs in the treatment of CVT at a tertiary care center to address efficacy and safety. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed charts of all patients with CVT treated with an NOAC at our tertiary care facility in the years 2011–2019. We collected data on demographics, risk factors for CVT, clinical features at presentation, imaging results, anticoagulation regimen, bleeding complications, and disability at follow-up. We compared disability at follow-up and major hemorrhagic events with age-matched and sex-matched controls treated with VKAs over the same time period and with historical controls. Results: We identified 29 patients with CVT treated with an NOAC, 27 of whom had follow-up within our system. NOACs that were used for treatment included apixaban (20 patients), rivaroxaban (6 patients) and dabigatran (1 patient). NOAC use was associated with stabilization of a clot or partial recanalization in 55.6% of patients and complete recanalization in 14.8% at a median follow-up time of 6 months. The median modified Rankin Score (mRS) at follow-up was 0, with one death. Three patients (11.1%) had major bleeding complications, including two with symptomatic worsening of intracranial hemorrhage. Comparisons of 27 age-matched and sex-matched controls treated with VKAs showed no significant differences in terms of partial recanalization (55.6% vs. 63.0%, p = 0.29), complete recanalization (14.8% vs. 25.9%, p = 0.73), mRS at follow-up (median 0 vs. 0, p = 0.23), or major bleeding (11.1% vs. 11.1%, p > 0.99). Comparisons with the historical International Study on Cerebral Vein and Dural Sinus Thrombosis cohort showed similar functional outcomes: 92.6% of patients treated with NOACs and 88.9% of patients treated with VKAs at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, as well as 86.2% of patients treated with VKAs in the historical study cohort, had mRS of 0–2 at follow-up (p = 0.60). Rates of major bleeding compared with this cohort were also similar (11.1% vs. 11.1% vs. 14.5%, p = 0.80). Conclusions: The safety and efficacy results of NOAC use for CVT were similar to those for age-matched and sex-matched controls treated with VKAs, as well as historical published controls. Assessment of NOAC efficacy and safety in CVT in multicenter cohort studies and randomized controlled trials is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-788
Number of pages6
JournalNeurocritical Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Anticoagulants
  • Cerebrovascular disorders
  • Factor Xa inhibitors
  • Sinus thrombosis (intracranial)


Dive into the research topics of 'Non-Vitamin K Antagonist Oral Anticoagulants for the Treatment of Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis: a Retrospective, Matched Cohort Analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this