Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. 
Caput medusae is the appearance of distended and engorged umbilical veins which are seen radiating from the umbilicus across the abdomen to join systemic veins.
The name caput medusae (Latin for "head of Medusa") originates from the apparent similarity to Medusa's hair once Minerva had turned it into snakes.
It is a sign of severe portal hypertension that has decompressed by portal-systemic shunting through the umbilical veins.
Inferior vena cava obstruction
How to differentiate
Determine the direction of flow in the veins below the umbilicus.
|Circulatory system pathology (I, 390-459)|
|Hypertension||Hypertensive heart disease - Hypertensive nephropathy - Secondary hypertension (Renovascular hypertension)|
|Ischaemic heart disease||Angina pectoris (Prinzmetal's angina) - Myocardial infarction (heart attack) - Dressler's syndrome|
|Pulmonary circulation||Pulmonary embolism - Cor pulmonale|
|Pericardium||Pericarditis - Pericardial effusion - Cardiac tamponade|
|Endocardium/heart valves||Endocarditis - mitral valve (regurgitation, prolapse, stenosis) - aortic valve (stenosis, insufficiency) - pulmonary valve (stenosis, insufficiency) - tricuspid valve (stenosis, insufficiency)|
|Myocardium||Myocarditis - Cardiomyopathy (Dilated cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Loeffler endocarditis, Restrictive cardiomyopathy) - Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia|
|Electrical conduction system|
of the heart
|Heart block: AV block (First degree, Second degree, Third degree) - Bundle branch block (Left, Right) - Bifascicular block - Trifascicular block|
Pre-excitation syndrome (Wolff-Parkinson-White, Lown-Ganong-Levine) - Long QT syndrome - Adams-Stokes syndrome - Cardiac arrest - Sudden cardiac death
Arrhythmia: Paroxysmal tachycardia (Supraventricular, AV nodal reentrant, Ventricular) - Atrial flutter - Atrial fibrillation (Familial) - Ventricular fibrillation - Premature contraction (Atrial, Ventricular) - Ectopic pacemaker - Sick sinus syndrome
|Other heart conditions||Heart failure - Cardiovascular disease - Cardiomegaly - Ventricular hypertrophy (Left, Right)|
|Cerebrovascular diseases||Stroke - Transient ischemic attack - Intracranial hemorrhage/cerebral hemorrhage: Extra-axial hemorrhage (Epidural hemorrhage, Subdural hemorrhage, Subarachnoid hemorrhage)|
Intra-axial hematoma (Intraventricular hemorrhages, Intraparenchymal hemorrhage) - Anterior spinal artery syndrome - Binswanger's disease - Moyamoya disease
|Atherosclerosis (Renal artery stenosis) - Aortic dissection/Aortic aneurysm (Abdominal aortic aneurysm) - Aneurysm - Raynaud's phenomenon/Raynaud's disease - Buerger's disease - Vasculitis/Arteritis (Aortitis) - Intermittent claudication - Arteriovenous fistula - Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia - Spider angioma - Dissection (Carotid artery, Vertebral artery)|
|Veins, lymphatic vessels|
and lymph nodes
|Thrombosis/Phlebitis/Thrombophlebitis (Deep vein thrombosis, May-Thurner syndrome, Portal vein thrombosis, Venous thrombosis, Budd-Chiari syndrome, Renal vein thrombosis, Paget-Schroetter disease) - Varicose veins / Portacaval anastomosis (Hemorrhoid, Esophageal varices, Varicocele, Gastric varices, Caput medusae) - Superior vena cava syndrome - Lymph (Lymphadenitis, Lymphedema, Lymphangitis)|
|Other||Hypotension (Orthostatic hypotension) - Rheumatic fever|
|See also congenital (Q20-Q28, 745-747) |