Superior vena cava syndrome: Things to know
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The superior vena cava is the vein that carries used blood from the upper body to the heart for reoxygenation. Superior vena cava syndrome is often a secondary problem caused by a cancerous tumor or a blood clot that restricts blood flow through this particular vein. Symptoms include breathing problems, lightheadedness, and swelling in the upper body. Superior vena cava syndrome most often occurs as a complication of another medical issue, such a tumor or a swollen lymph node obstructing the flow of blood through the vein.Common causes of superior vena cava syndrome include non-Hodgkin lymphoma, lung cancer. Less common causes of superior vena cava syndrome include metastatic breast cancer, colon cancer, esophageal cancer, thyroid cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, blood clots from an intravenous catheter or pacemaker, severe chest infections, such as tuberculosis, some immune system diseases, such as Behcet's disease.Although rare, superior vena cava syndrome in children is always a medical emergency. A child's windpipe is smaller and less rigid than an adult's, making it more prone to swelling quickly and causing breathing problems.In most cases of superior vena cava syndrome, treatment aims to reduce symptoms and shrink any tumor causing the obstruction. In mild cases, watchful waiting may be the only treatment recommended...

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