oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Cavernous sinus thromboplebitis in Zimbabwe

Volume 37, Issue 12
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



Cavernous sinus thrombophlebitis (CST) was diagnosed in 19 black African patients who presented to two large, general hospitals in Harare, Zimbabwe, over an eight-year period. Diagnosis was based on clinical criteria. The mean age of patients was 22,5 years (range 8 months - 70 years). Only three patients (15,5 pc), all of whom were promptly diagnosed and commenced on a regimen including intravenous, high-dose cloaxacillin, recovered completely. In ten cases (52,6 pc), initial treatment was penicillin and chloramphenicol. Four of the 19 patients who had serious sequelae including residual blindness, complete ophthalmoplegia or unilateral proptosis, and six patients (31,6 pc) died. The higher than usual mortality rate in this series can be attributed to various factors including late presentation, delay in diagnosis and delay before initiation of effective antibiotic treatment. Whenever CST is suspected, antibiotic treatment should be administered without delay pending further evaluation, and the initial regimen should include high-dose antistaphylococcal antibiotics.

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