Cerebral venous sinus density on noncontrast CT correlates with hematocrit

David F. Black, A. E. Rad, L. A. Gray, N. G. Campeau, D. F. Kallmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: A positive correlation between HCT and CT attenuation of intravascular blood has long been assumed but has never been established by using substantial patient numbers and modern CT equipment. The purpose of this study was to determine whether apparent increased attenuation on CT in cerebral venous sinuses can be attributed to hemoconcentration alone and to assess whether sinus thrombosis can be differentiated from hemoconcentrated blood based on attenuation values alone. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We measured HUs in a region of interest within the confluence of dural venous sinuses in 166 unenhanced head CTs and correlated these data with HCT and HGB values in male and female patients aged 2 to 100 years. We then compared these data with similar measurements in 8 patients with recent venous sinus thrombosis. Two-tailed t test and linear regression analyses were performed to evaluate HGB and HCT between groups and with measured CT attenuation of intravascular blood, respectively. RESULTS: A statistically significant relationship was noted between both HCT and HGB with CT attenuation. Seven of 8 patients with sinus thrombosis had attenuation values >70, but none of the normal subjects had HUs >70. CONCLUSIONS: Hemoconcentration correlates with CT attenuation in cerebral venous sinuses. Our findings suggest that comparing the ratio of HUs to HCT may be useful in gauging concern for sinus thrombosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1354-1357
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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