Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Headache and inflammatory bowel disease: think cerebral vein!
  1. Martina Orfei,
  2. Marco Gasparetto and
  3. Franco Torrente
  1. Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Martina Orfei, martina.orfei{at}


Cerebral vein thrombosis is a severe complication of inflammatory bowel disease, can cause non-specific symptoms and hence lead to delay in diagnosis. We report the case of an adolescent with inflammatory bowel disease who developed extensive cerebral vein thrombosis requiring a ventriculoperitoneal shunt. Diagnosis was markedly delayed due to repeated misinterpretation of clinical signs and laboratory findings and the lack of reconsidering the working diagnosis despite the involvement of several medical subspecialties. The patient does not suffer from any neurological impairment. This case report highlights the need for clinicians to maintain vigilance for complications of chronic disease and encourages to cast doubt on the working diagnosis constantly.

  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • headache (including migraines)
  • coma and raised intracranial pressure
  • paediatrics
  • venous thromboembolism

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Contributors MO led the writing of the case report which was commented and edited by FT and MG.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.