Superior Vena Cava Syndrome - Symptoms

What were the symptoms experienced with superior vena cava syndrome in you or a relative?

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What are the symptoms of superior vena cava syndrome?

Initially, there are few symptoms, however, over time, symptoms of superior vena cava gradually develop. As the compression becomes more severe, the patient may develop shortness of breath and swelling of the arms and face. The symptoms occur because blood cannot return to the heart.

Without adequate blood return, it is hard for the heart to pump newly oxygenated blood to meet the metabolic needs of the body. If blood cannot return to the heart, it starts to back up and causes swelling of the areas where the backup occurs.

Less common symptoms include:

  • dilation of veins on the skin surface as the body tries to establish new circulatory pathways to bypass the blockage, and a blue tinge to the skin (because the backed up blood doesn't have enough oxygen content)
  • cough,
  • shortness of breath,
  • chest pain, and
  • hoarseness.
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