In this review, the impact of restricted cerebral venous outflow on the biomechanics of the intracranial fluid system is investigated. The cerebral venous drainage system is often viewed simply as a series of collecting vessels channeling blood back to the heart. However there is growing evidence that it plays an important role in regulating the intracranial fluid system. In particular, there appears to be a link between increased cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pulsatility in the Aqueduct of Sylvius and constricted venous outflow. Constricted venous outflow also appears to inhibit absorption of CSF into the superior sagittal sinus. The compliance of the cortical bridging veins appears to be critical to the behaviour of the intracranial fluid system, with abnormalities at this location implicated in normal pressure hydrocephalus. The compliance associated with these vessels appears to be functional in nature and dependent on the free egress of blood out of the cranium via the extracranial venous drainage pathways. Because constricted venous outflow appears to be linked with increased aqueductal CSF pulsatility, it suggests that inhibited venous blood outflow may be altering the compliance of the cortical bridging veins.
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