Treating SCV Syndrome and Preventing Any Unwanted Complications

There are about 15,000 cases of SVC Syndrome each year, with many people being affected by the disease throughout the United States. Although the disease progresses over time, it can be extremely debilitating and leading to conditions such as chronic headaches, arm swelling and facial swelling. At MIVA Medical, we ensure that our treatments for SVC Syndrome are given top priority and that you can get the best medical service from diagnosis to recovery.

What Does SVC Syndrome Entail?

The SVC Syndrome is somewhat atypical, since it is commonly caused by the scar tissue that forms as a result of using pacemakers, dialysis catheters and chemo port catheters over a longer period of time. This unique complication affects the Superior Vena Cava (SVC) which is responsible for returning the blood to the heart and lungs from your head, shoulders and arms. In some cases, a condition known as External SVC compression can also occur because of conditions like lymphoma and sarcoidosis causing lymph nodes to become larger.

A professional diagnosis for SVC Syndrome is required before any type of treatment can be initiated. Once the disease is diagnosed, our Missouri experts can go to the next stage by applying pharmacologic management and possibly a venogram with intervention.

Initial treatment through pharmacologic management (which just means the use of medication) is strongly recommended at first, since the disease could be treated without any invasive procedures if it’s not too far along its development path. However, in many cases, this type of management will only allow the blood to thin and the artery walls to stop narrowing. To actually treat the problem, intervention will likely be needed as well.

Using a Venogram with the Appropriate Procedures

A venogram is a very important step of the process prior to treating SVC Syndrome. “Veno” means “vein” while the word “gram” just means “image.” So, as the name suggests, a venogram simply generates an image of the veins and arteries using X-rays. To achieve that, a special dye is injected into the bloodstream, and then the correct path for intervention is determined using advanced imaging technology. Following that, a hollow needle is introduced using ultrasound guidance, and then a wire is driven into the vein.

Depending on what our experts at MIVA determine might be the best treatment, you can choose between:

  • Stent placement, in which a metal tube is placed inside the Superior Vena Cava to prevent it from narrowing further;
  • Embolization, which uses a coil or a plug to shut down the vein if it’s no longer functioning;
  • Angioplasty, using special elongated balloons driven over the wire into the vein;
  • Thrombolysis, through which a larger clot can be addressed with the help of a specialized catheter.

All these methods can be used at MIVA Medical along with intravascular ultrasound to examine the veins internally and determine whether the outcome was a success. General anesthesia might be used for treating SVC Syndrome, although moderate sedation might also be an option. Because no incisions or invasive methods are used, recovery time will be quick, although you might be advised to avoid any heavy lifting for about 5 days following the procedure.