Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

What Is Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome?

Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome is a pathological condition which is characterized by obstruction or blockage of the inferior vena cava vein which transports blood from the lower extremities to the heart. This condition is mainly seen in pregnant females and the vein gets obstructed as a result of the growing fetus.

Some of the primary symptoms of Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome are hypotension and dizziness, especially when lying on the back. Lying on the left side relieves the symptoms. Pregnancy also interrupts the free flow of blood from the lower extremities back to the heart. There is also reduced cardiac output during pregnancy which also is one of the reasons for Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome.

Minor compression of the inferior vena cava is a common occurrence during pregnancy and is not a condition to worry about but treatment would be required if the symptoms continue even after the delivery of the child for Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome.

What Causes Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome?

As stated, Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome is basically caused by obstruction or blockage of the inferior vena cava which carries blood from the lower extremities to the heart. The primary cause of this condition is pregnancy and hence it is found normally in females. During pregnancy there is enlargement of the uterus due to growing fetus which results in compression or blockage of the inferior vena cava vein resulting in the development of Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome.

A blood clot in this vein is yet another cause for an individual to develop Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome. Renal cell carcinoma has also been shown to cause Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome. The tumor compresses the inferior vena cava vein resulting in less blood flow through this artery to the heart.

An Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome is more seen in the third trimester of the pregnancy when a female is more likely to develop blood clots and tumors. Additionally, individuals who have a history of liver transplant or have been on dialysis are also predisposed to Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome.

Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome is not a common disease and there are around 10 in a 100,000 cases per year in the United States alone. It should be noted here that even though this condition is seen during pregnancy not all females who get pregnant develop Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome.

What Are The Symptoms Of Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome?

Peripheral edema is the primary presenting feature of Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome. This edema is caused due to sudden increased pressure in the veins. Tachycardia is another symptom of Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome. Hypotension is also observed in individuals with Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome which is accompanied by symptoms like dizziness, increased sweating, and nausea. In some cases, individuals also experience muscle twitching and hypoxia as a result of Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome.

How Is Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome Treated?

Coming to the treatments of Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome, cases where pregnancy is responsible for the compression and obstruction of the Inferior Vena Cava vein, the symptoms resolve post delivery of the baby.

In cases where tumor is responsible for the condition then treating the condition with radiation and chemotherapy can reduce the symptoms of Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome. If a blood clot is causing the condition, then dissolving the clot through medications or surgically is the preferred methodology to treat Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: February 20, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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