Superior Vena Cava (SVC) is the large vein that returns blood to the heart and lungs from the head and arms and “SVC Syndrome” is a condition where the SVC is narrowed which results in increased pressure in the head and arms. This condition is most commonly caused by scar tissue forming in the SVC from dialysis catheters, pacemaker leads and chemo port catheters. External SVC compression can also occur due to enlarged lymph nodes from conditions such as sarcoidosis or lymphoma.
SVC Syndrome affects many people with 15,000 new cases each year in the US, most commonly due to long-term indwelling venous catheters.
If you have SVC Syndrome, you will experience increased pressure in your head and the resulting conditions will include:
- Chronic headaches
- Facial swelling
- Arm swelling