Vena cava
The superior vena cava is the large vein which returns blood to the heart from the head, neck and both upper limbs. The inferior vena cava returns blood to the heart from the lower part of the body. The return of blood via the vena cava can be compromised and cause disease. For example, in the superior vena cava syndrome, the symptoms that result from compression of the large vein that carries blood down to the heart. The superior vena cava is located in the middle of the chest and is surrounded by rigid structures and lymph nodes. The structure bordering the superior vena cava include the trachea, aorta, thymus, right bronchus of the lung and pulmonary artery. Compression of the superior vena cava by disease of any of the structures or lymph nodes surrounding the superior vena cava can cause the superior vena cava syndrome. The superior vena cava syndrome is characterized by swelling of the face, neck and/or arms with visible widening (dilation) of the veins of the neck. Patients often have a persistent cough and shortness of breath. Others symptoms can be present including hoarseness, swelling around the eyes, fatigue, chest pain, headaches, and dizziness. The causes of the superior vena cava syndrome include cancer (malignancies) and non-cancer (benign) conditions. The common forms of cancer that can cause the superior vena cava syndrome are lung cancer, lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes), and cancer that has spread (metastasis) to the chest, more commonly breast and testicular cancer. Non-cancer causes of the superior vena cava syndrome include infections (such as tuberculosis, fungus, and syphilis), benign tumors (such as teratomas, thymoma, dermoid cyst), aortic aneurysm, pericarditis, sarcoidosis, irradiation treatment to the chest, air in the chest (pneumothorax), and complication of central line catheters and congenital heart surgery. Diagnosis of superior vena cava syndrome is supported by identifying a cause for the superior vena cava syndrome, typically requiring X- ray imaging or CAT or MRI scanning. Treatment of superior vena cava syndrome is directed toward the exact underlying cause. Therefore, treatment might include radiation treatment, antibiotics, chemotherapy, clot-busting (thrombolytic) drugs, blood thinners (anticoagulation), and balloon angioplasty, and even surgery. The outlook for patients with the superior vena cava syndrome clearly depends on the underlying cause of the syndrome.

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ve·na ca·va .vē-nə-'kā-və n, pl ve·nae ca·vae -ni-'kā-(.)vē either of two large veins by which the blood is returned to the right atrium of the heart:
a) INFERIOR VENA CAVA
b) SUPERIOR VENA CAVA
vena ca·val -vəl adj

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(pl. venae cavae)
either of the two main veins, conveying deoxygenated blood from the other veins to the right atrium of the heart. The inferior vena cava, formed by the union of the right and left common iliac veins, receives blood from parts of the body below the diaphragm. The superior vena cava, originating at the junction of the two innominate veins, drains blood from the head, neck, thorax, and arms.

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see v. cava inferior and v. cava superior.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Vena cava — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Vista frontal de un corazón humano. Las flechas indican el flujo de la sangre. #3 = vena cava superior #11 = vena cava inferior La vena cava es cada una de las dos venas mayores del cuerpo, la vena cava superior o… …   Wikipedia Español

  • vena cava — cava, vena anat. Cada uno de los dos troncos venosos que recogen la sangre procedente de las extremidades superiores, cabeza y del tórax (vena cava superior) y de los órganos del abdomen y de las extremidades inferiores (vena cava inferior) para… …   Diccionario médico

  • vena cava — Medical Latin, from L. vena vein (see VEIN (Cf. vein)) + cava, from cavus hollow (see CAVE (Cf. cave) (n.)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • vena cava — [vē΄nə kā′və] n. pl. venae cavae [vē΄nē kā′vē] [ModL < L vena, vein + cava, fem. of cavus, hollow] Anat. either of two large veins conveying blood to the right atrium of the heart: see HEART …   English World dictionary

  • Vena cava — Vena Ve na, n.; pl. {Ven[ae]}. [L. See {Vein}.] A vein. [1913 Webster] {Vena cava}; pl. {Ven[ae] cav[ae]}. [L., literally, hollow vein.] (Anat.) Any one of the great systemic veins connected directly with the heart. {Vena contracta}. [L.,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • vena cava — /vee neuh kay veuh/, pl. venae cavae /vee nee kay vee/. Anat. either of two large veins discharging blood into the right atrium of the heart, one (superior vena cava or precava) conveying blood from the head, chest, and upper extremities and the… …   Universalium

  • Vena cava — Die Hohlvenen sind zwei große Venen, die das venöse Blut aus dem Körper zurück zum rechten Herzvorhof transportieren. Vena cava inferior (blau) (Gray s Anatomy of the Human Body 1918) Es gibt die obere Hohlvene (Vena cava superior, bei den Tieren …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Vena cava — ► locución ANATOMÍA Cada una de las dos venas más importantes del cuerpo, que desembocan en la aurícula derecha; una procede de la parte superior del cuerpo y la otra de los órganos situados debajo del diafragma. * * * Cada una de las dos venas… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • vena cava — n. (Medicine) either of two main veins that carry blood to the right atrium of the heart; superior vena cava or the inferior vena cava …   English contemporary dictionary

  • vena cava — pl. venae cavae either of the two main veins, conveying deoxygenated blood from the other veins to the right atrium of the heart. The inferior vena cava, formed by the union of the right and left common iliac veins, receives blood from parts of… …   The new mediacal dictionary

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