Low-oestrogen oral contraceptives as a major risk factor for cerebral venous and sinus thrombosis: Evidence from a clinical series

G. Buccino, U. Scoditti, M. Fini, A. R. Tagliaferri, C. Manotti, D. Manda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Cerebral venous and sinus thrombosis (CVST) is still considered a severe clinical problem that is difficult to diagnose and manage and is linked to a poor prognosis. Nonetheless, conventional cerebral angiography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or more recently, MR angiography allow a more rapid and precise diagnosis, and prognosis has improved with the use of anticoagulant treatment. We report 23 cases of CVST consecutively admitted to the Institute of Neurology of the University of Parma during the period 1990- 1997. In all cases diagnosis was confirmed by means of MRI or conventional angiography of brain vessels. Among the patients, 22 were female and 1 was male. In all patients, plasma levels of protein C, protein S, antithrombin III (ATIII) and antiphospholipid antibodies (APA) were evaluated. In 15 of 23 patients, the presence of factor V Leiden mutation was also determined, and found positive in 3 patients (20%). Of the 22 female patients, 15 (68%) were on low-oestrogen (containing less than 50 μg oestrogen) oral contraceptive (OC) treatment. This percentage of OC use by patients with CVST is much higher than that of the rest of the female Italian population. OC use was associated with the presence of factor V Leiden mutation in two cases, with a deficiency of protein C in 1 case and deficiency of protein S in another. Whether low-oestrogen OCs may induce cerebral thromboembolic events is an open matter. According to our data, it may be argued that OCs, even if at low oestrogen content, represent a major risk factor for CVST. The use of OCs, as is the case for systemic venous thromboembolic events, may further increase the risk of CVST in women carrying the factor V Leiden mutation or other inherited hyperthrombotic conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-235
Number of pages5
JournalItalian Journal of Neurological Sciences
Volume20
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999

Keywords

  • Cerebral venous and sinus thrombosis
  • Factor V Leiden mutation
  • Oral contraceptives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Dermatology

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