Differentiation of transverse sinus thrombosis from congenitally atretic cerebral transverse sinus with CT

Yolanda Chik, Rebecca F. Gottesman, Steven R. Zeiler, Jason D Rosenberg, Rafael H. Llinas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose-Transverse sinus thrombosis can have nonspecific clinical and radiographic signs. We hypothesized that the novel "sigmoid notch sign" (on head CT) can help differentiate transverse sinus thrombosis from a congenitally atretic sinus among individuals with absent signal in 1 transverse sinus by MR venography. Methods-We retrospectively evaluated 53 subjects with a unilaterally absent transverse sinus signal on MR venography. Eleven had true transverse sinus thrombosis and 42 had an atretic transverse sinus. Reviewers were trained in the sigmoid notch sign: "positive" if 1 of the sigmoid notches was asymmetrically smaller than the other, consistent with a congenitally absent transverse sinus on that side. This sign was scored on CT scans by 2 blinded reviewers to determine if signal dropout was clot or atretic sinus. A consensus rating was reached when the reviewers disagreed. Characteristics of the sigmoid notch sign as a diagnostic test were compared with a gold standard of full chart review by an independent reviewer. Results-Each reviewer had a sensitivity of 91% (detecting 10 of 11 clots based on a negative sigmoid notch sign) and specificity of 71% to 81%; consensus specificity increased to 86% (36 of 42 individuals with an atretic sinus had a positive notch sign, detecting atretic sinuses based on presence of the sign). Conclusion-Asymmetries of the sigmoid notches on noncontrast brain CT is a very sensitive and specific measure of differentiating transverse sinus thrombosis from an atretic transverse sinus when absence of transverse sinus flow is visualized on MR venography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1968-1970
Number of pages3
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • sigmoid notch sign
  • transverse sinus
  • venous sinus atresia
  • venous sinus occlusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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