Is superior vena cava syndrome a medical emergency?

Is superior vena cava syndrome a medical emergency?

Superior vena cava syndrome only rarely manifests as an acute emergency. Typically, the syndrome develops over weeks to months and is recognized when the typical signs of facial and upper extremity edema occur.

How Long Can You Live With SVC syndrome?

Prognosis. The average life expectancy for patients who present with malignancy-related SVC syndrome is 6 months, although the prognosis is quite variable depending on the type of malignancy. SVC obstruction in patients with NSCLC portends a particularly poor prognosis.

How do you rule out SVC syndrome?

How is superior vena cava syndrome diagnosed?

  1. Chest X-ray.
  2. CT scan of the chest.
  3. X-ray imaging of the veins (venography)
  4. MRI.
  5. Ultrasound.

Is SVC obstruction an emergency?

Superior Vena Cava Obstruction (SVCO) is an oncological emergency and any patients should be discussed with a Registrar or above immediately, and with the local Respiratory team or on-call Oncology team at the Beatson (Appendix 6 for contact details), as soon as possible to guide investigation and management.

What is the most common physical finding in patients with superior vena cava syndrome?

Dyspnea is the most common symptom, observed in 63% of patients with SVCS. Other symptoms include facial swelling, head fullness, cough, arm swelling, chest pain, dysphagia, orthopnea, distorted vision, hoarseness, stridor, headache, nasal stuffiness, nausea, pleural effusions, and light-headedness.

Can superior vena cava syndrome cause shortness of breath?

Superior vena cava syndrome is most often caused by compression of the vein (the superior vena cava), that returns blood from the upper body back to the right atrium of the heart by the tumor. Symptoms include swelling of the face and arms associated with shortness of breath.

Can you survive superior vena cava syndrome?

Survival in patients with SVCS depends mainly on the course of the underlying disease. No mortality, per se, results directly from mild venous congestion. In patients with benign SVCS, life expectancy is unchanged. If SVCS is secondary to a malignant process, patient survival correlates with tumor histology.

Is superior vena cava syndrome fatal?

The incidence of superior vena cava syndrome within the United States is roughly 15,000 cases per year. Superior vena cava syndrome is a potentially life-threatening medical condition; however, superior vena cava syndrome is not fatal in the majority of cases.

How is SVC syndrome diagnosed?

SVC syndrome is usually diagnosed with a chest computerized tomography (CT) scan, but additional tests may be done as well. Treatment focuses on the underlying cause and may include a procedure to bypass the blood vessel obstruction.

How is superior vena cava syndrome diagnosed?

A plain chest x-ray may show abnormal enlargement of the mediastinum or may reveal a tumor in the lung. Ultrasound may be used to look for blood clots in the arm leading into the chest. Computerized tomography (CT) scanning of the chest is most often used to diagnose superior vena cava syndrome.

What happens if the vena cava is blocked?

A blockage in the inferior vena cava (IVC) can lead to chronic leg swelling, pain, and immobility, according to the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) IVC Filter Clinic. There may be other health complications depending on a person’s age and preexisting medical conditions.

How is SVC obstruction treated?

The goal of treatment is to relieve the blockage. Diuretics (water pills) or steroids (anti-inflammatory drugs) may be used to temporarily relieve swelling. Other treatment options may include radiation or chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, or surgery to remove the tumors.

What do you need to know about superior vena cava syndrome?

JACC Cardiovasc Interv 2020;13:2896-2910. The following are key points to remember from a state-of-the-art review on superior vena cava (SVC) syndrome: SVC syndrome comprises a constellation of clinical signs and symptoms caused by obstruction of blood flow through the SVC.

What causes obstruction of flow through the superior vena cava?

Obstruction of flow through the superior vena cava into the right atrium; hence its other name, superior vena cava obstruction syndrome. What Causes SVC Syndrome (Who Gets It?): Superior vena cava syndrome is caused by compression or invasion by mediastinal masses (tumors and/or lymphadenopathy), stenosis of the SVC, or thrombosis.

When to start radiation therapy for superior vena cava syndrome?

Treatment of superior vena cava syndrome depends on the cause of the obstruction, the seriousness of the symptoms, the prognosis of the patient, and the patient’s preferences. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy should not be started until the cause of the blockage is determined.

Can a stent be placed in a superior vena cava?

Stents may even be placed in a superior vena cava that is totally occluded or contains thrombus; catheter–directed thrombolysis, balloon angioplasty, or mechanical thrombectomy may be required prior to stent placement. Superior vena cava stents have the advantage of not requiring a diagnosis prior to implementation.