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Vasc Med. 2013 Feb;18(1):32-43. doi: 10.1177/1358863X12471967.

Inferior vena cava thrombosis: a review of current practice.

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Department of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, Northern Ireland.


Inferior vena cava (IVC) thrombosis remains under-recognised as it is often not pursued as a primary diagnosis. The aetiology of IVC thrombosis can be divided into congenital versus acquired, with all aetiological factors found among Virchow's triad of stasis, injury and hypercoagulability. Signs and symptoms are related to aetiology and range from no symptoms to cardiovascular collapse. Painful lower limb swelling combined with lower back pain, pyrexia, dilatation of cutaneous abdominal wall veins and a concurrent rise in inflammatory markers are suggestive of IVC thrombosis. Following initial lower limb venous duplex, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the optimal non-invasive imaging tool. Aetiology directs treatment, which ranges from anticoagulation and lower limb compression to open surgery, with endovascular therapies increasingly favoured. The objective of this review is to assess current literature on the aetiology, presentation, investigation, treatment, prognosis and other factors pertaining to IVC thrombosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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