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Rev Mal Respir. 2001 Oct;18(5):553-6.

[Recurrent edema of the face and neck in a chronically hemodialyzed patient].

[Article in French]

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Service de Pneumologie et Immuno-allergologie, Clinique des Maladies Respiratoires, Hôpital A. Calmette, CHRU, Lille.


We report the case of a patient undergoing long-term hemodialysis admitted to hospital for diagnosis of recurrent face and neck edema influenced by dialysis sessions with paroxysmal dyspnea. We considered the possible role of allergy to ethylene oxide and to formaldehyde without diagnostic confirmation. Dialyzer complement activation was suspected but changing the dialyzer did not improve the symptoms. Anti-histaminic and corticosteroid therapy did not modify symptoms. A mild hemithoracic collateral circulation occurred and led to the discovery of a superior vena cava syndrome. Computed tomography and bilateral upper limb contrast venography visualized a thrombus in the superior vena cava extending into the right venous brachiocephalic arm from the central vein catheter. A stent was inserted into the superior vena cava which, together with anticoagulant therapy, led to rapid resolution of the symptoms. Superior vena cava syndrome related to a central catheter and hypersensitivity reactions should always be considered as possible causes of recurrent face and neck edema in patients on long-term hemodialysis.

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