Superior vena cava obstruction treated with Interventional Radiology

Team of Dr. Charalambous - Nicosia, Cyprus

Superior vena cava obstruction

The second-largest vein in the body is called the superior vena cava (SVC). SVC carries the deoxygenated blood from the upper half of the body and supplies it to the right atrium, which is one of the four chambers in your heart.

SVC blockage or SVC obstruction happens when the vein becomes blocked or narrowed. The obstruction can be of two types. One type is chronic, which means it can last for a long time. The second type is acute, which happens suddenly and can end quickly also.
There are many cases in which the obstruction is due to cancer, but it is not the common cause every time.


The SVC obstruction’s biggest symptom is shortness of breath. There are many other symptoms like the swelling of veins in the arms, chest, or neck. There can also be swelling in the neck, face, or arms. The patient can also experience headaches and cough.


The condition can be diagnosed through the usage of imaging techniques like contrast-enhanced MRI, CT. There can also be a use of a technique called digital subtraction angiography for the diagnosis of SVC Obstruction.
If cancer is the cause of the obstruction, it can be treated by radiation therapy and chemotherapy. A patient can be responsive to this treatment during the time of several weeks.
There can also be SVC stenting used for treatment. In this process, the interventional radiologist inserts a metal stent in the blocked or narrowed vein so it can be opened. This procedure is a minimally invasive method that can be used as a standalone treatment method, or it can also be used in combination with other treatments.
Fluoroscopy will be used for the medical image guidance so that a catheter can be inserted in the large vein, which will go to the affected area, and a stent will be placed. In most of the cases, the symptoms seem to go away when the stent is placed. Mostly, it takes 24 to 48 hours.
Dr Nikolas Charalambous is named among the most prominent interventional radiologist. Get a free consultation for a minimally invasive treatment of brain, neck, and spine.
Aretaeio Hospital

Andrea Avraamidi 55-57, Strovolos 2024, Nicosia,


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Phone: +357  99 44 08 22