Superior vena cava syndrome pathophysiology

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Maria Fernanda Villarreal, M.D. [2]

Overview

Superior vena cava syndrome arises from the obstruction of venous blood drainage of the superior vena cava, which is normally involved in the major blood flow return from head, neck, upper extremities, and upper thorax to the heart. Superior vena cava syndrome is a complication of a partial or complete obstruction due to malignant causes (60%) or benign causes (20%). This syndrome consists on the invasion of the venous wall associated with intravascular thrombosis, enlarged nodes, enlarged ascending aorta, or by extrinsic pressure of a tumor mass against the thin-walled superior vena cava which leads to the development of superior vena cava syndrome. Superior vena cava syndrome is associated with a number of conditions that include malignant tumors, tuberculosis, histoplasmosis, and syphilis.

Pathogenesis

Knowledge of the anatomy of the superior vena cava and its relationship to the surrounding lymph nodes is essential to understanding the development of the syndrome.[1]

Associated Conditions

Gross Pathology

On gross pathology, there are no characteristic findings of superior vena syndrome.

Microscopic Pathology

On microscopic pathology, there are no characteristic findings of superior vena syndrome.

References

  1. Menon A, Gupta A (2015). "Superior vena cava syndrome". Indian J. Med. Res. 142 (3): 350. doi:10.4103/0971-5916.166606. PMC 4669875. PMID 26458355.
  2. Wilson LD, Detterbeck FC, Yahalom J (2007). "Clinical practice. Superior vena cava syndrome with malignant causes". N. Engl. J. Med. 356 (18): 1862–9. doi:10.1056/NEJMcp067190. PMID 17476012.
  3. Uberoi R (2006). "Quality assurance guidelines for superior vena cava stenting in malignant disease". Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol. 29 (3): 319–22. doi:10.1007/s00270-005-0284-9. PMID 16502166.
  4. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/cardiopulmonary-hp-pdq#link/_102_toc Accessed on January,11 2016

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