Terson's syndrome

Anhar Hassan, Giuseppe Lanzino, Eelco F.M. Wijdicks, Alejandro A. Rabinstein, Kelly D. Flemming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background Terson's syndrome is intraocular hemorrhage (IOH) subsequent to subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Its presence is associated with higher mortality in SAH. We report a case of Terson's syndrome and review the literature. Case Report A 71-year-old Caucasian gentleman collapsed and became comatose. Past medical history was notable for chronic anticoagulation for previous transient ischemia attacks. CT head scans showed severe SAH of Fisher grade 4 and a lesion suspicious for aneurysm. Formal angiography confirmed a supraclinoid right internal carotid artery aneurysm which was coiled. ICU admission was complicated by a stormy course. The patient eventually regained consciousness and was transferred to a regular ward. On hospital day 20, impaired vision was noted. Review of CT head scans revealed previously missed retinal hemorrhages and funduscopy confirmed vitreous hemorrhage. However, the patient remained in a poor neurologic state and expired several days later. Discussion Terson's syndrome occurs in up to 40% of acute aneurysmal bleeds. The sudden spike in intracranial pressure (ICP) with aneurysmal rupture is thought to underlie the cause of IOH as well as the high incidence of coma, higher Hunt and Hess grades, and mortality in these patients. Gold-standard diagnosis is funduscopy, and retinal hemorrhages may occasionally be seen on CT. Conclusions Terson's syndrome occurs frequently following SAH, although it is under-reported. Suspected visual loss following SAH should prompt a search for Terson's syndrome by funduscopy, as its presence is an adverse prognostic factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)554-558
Number of pages5
JournalNeurocritical care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Intracranial aneurysm
  • Intraocular hemorrhage
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Terson's syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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