Obstruction of venous drainage linked to transient global amnesia

Ke Han, A. Ching Chao, Feng Chi Chang, Chih Ping Chung, Hung Yi Hsu, Wen Yung Sheng, Jiang Wu, Han Hwa Hu

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26 Citations (Scopus)


Abnormal extracranial venous drainage modality has been considered an etiology of transient global amnesia (TGA). Evidence suggests that the transmission of the intrathoracic/intraabdominal pressure during a Valsalva maneuver (VM) is mainly through the vertebral venous system, and patency of internal jugular vein (IJV) is essential for venous drainage and pressure releasing. We hypothesize that obstruction of IJV venous drainage is a contributing factor in TGA pathogenesis. A magnetic resonance (MR) imaging protocol was used in 45 TGA patients and 45 age- and sex-matched controls to assess the morphologies of IJV, brachiocephalic vein (BCV) and asymmetry of transverse sinus (TS). The IJV was divided into the upper- and middle-IJV segments. Compared to the controls, TGA patients had significantly higher rates of moderate and severe compression/stenosis at the bilateral upper-IJV segment (left: 37.8% vs. 17.8%, P = 0.0393; right: 57.8% vs. 15.6%, P<0.0012), in left BCV (60% vs. 8.9%, P<0.0004), and in TS hypoplasia (53.3%% vs. 31.1%, P = 0.0405). The prevalence of at least one site of venous compression/stenosis in IJV or BCV was significantly higher in patients than in controls (91.1% vs. 33.3%, P<0.0004). The diameter of the left TS in MRV, but not in T1 contrast imaging, was significantly smaller in TGA patients than in controls (0.31±0.21 vs. 0.41±0.19, P = 0.0290), which was compatible with downstream venous stenosis/obstruction. TGA patients have a higher prevalence of compression/stenosis of the bilateral IJV and the left BCV and TS hypoplasia, which is new evidence that supports the role of extracranial veins in TGA pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0132893
JournalPLoS One
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 14 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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