alexa Superior vena caval obstruction: a 10-year experience.


Journal of Pulmonary & Respiratory Medicine

Author(s): Bell DR, Woods RL, Levi JA

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Abstract One hundred and fifty-nine patients with symptoms of superior vena caval obstruction who presented to two major hospitals over a 10-year period, from 1970 to 1979, were reviewed. Lung cancer was the most common histological diagnosis. The most common symptoms were dyspnoea and a feeling of fullness in the head. The most common physical findings were dilatation of the neck or chest wall veins, or oedema of the face and arms. Superior mediastinal widening was the most common radiological abnormality. No significant morbidity was associated with any diagnostic procedure. Only patients with lymphoma had a significantly longer survival period, both from the diagnosis of the disease, and from the onset of the symptoms of superior vena caval obstruction. There is no evidence that superior vena caval obstruction is an absolute medical emergency. Appropriate diagnostic steps should be undertaken to establish the histological diagnosis. The prognosis for some tumour types may be improved by combined modality therapy (chemotherapy plus radiotherapy).
This article was published in Med J Aust and referenced in Journal of Pulmonary & Respiratory Medicine

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