Uperior vena cava syndrome (svcs) was first described in l757 in a patient with a syphilitic



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uperior vena cava syndrome (SVCS) was first

described in l757 in a patient with a syphilitic

lesion of the aorta.

1

The causes of SVCS have



changed since that time. In the 1950s, SVCS was

primarily caused by aortic aneurysm and infections

such as tuberculosis and fibrous mediastinitis. In the

1980s and 1990s, malignant disorders have become the

dominant cause of SVCS. In most patients with SVCS,

primary malignancies of the mediastinum are the

causative factor. Benign disorders account for less than

10% of cases of SVCS. Modern antibiotic treatment of

infectious disorders is postulated to be the cause of the

changing etiologies of SVCS.

2 –11

This article reviews the



anatomy of the superior vena cava and the pathophysi-

ology, malignant and benign causes, clinical presenta-

tion, and diagnosis of SVCS. Treatment and prognosis

are also discussed. 




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