Podcast #80: Superior Vena Cava Syndrome

54294690-8008-447e-97fd-b6ca71e93bd3Run Time: 4 minutes

Author: Dr. David Rosenberg

Educational Pearls:   

  • A patient presented with left arm swelling with a history of a right pneumonectomy due to lung cancer. The patient received a NIVA of the arm and was discharged upon normal interpretation of the exam.
  • The patient returned the next day with worsened arm swelling with discoloration, shortness of breath, and posterior pharyngeal swelling.
  • The patient was diagnosed via CT with Superior Vena Cava Syndrome where the superior vena cava becomes occluded. It is usually caused (about 90% of the time) by cancer, specifically bronchogenic carcinoma.
  • Treatment is emergent radiation to eradicate the cancer as soon as possible. In the emergency room, steroids and Lasix can be used to help reduce the swelling and inflammation. There is also an option to have IR stent open the SVC.
  • About 90% of patients with this diagnosis die within a year.

Link to Podcast: http://medicalminute.madewithopinion.com/superior-vena-cava-syndrome/

References: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2728369/

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/460865-overview

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