Do not miss any of the new cases! Subscribe above to receive our newsletter! ↑↑

Do not miss the opportunity to download our app on the Google Play Store. Click here to enjoy it.


Case 169


Click on the images above to zoom in

JJS, a 42-year-old male patient, developed 2 months ago a right-sided chest pain, with progressive worsening and radiating to right shoulder and neck associated with dry cough and dyspnoea. Evolved with cervicofacial oedema, exacerbated by the supine position. Refers weight loss of 7 kg over the past two months and episodes of chills and fever of 38°C. On clinical examination, there were cervicofacial and upper limbs oedema, more intense in left side. Presence of telangiectasia and collateral circulation in mammary, supraclavicular and infraclavicular regions.

Based on the clinical picture and the images, which one of the following is the most likely diagnosis?

a) Heart Failure


b) Tumor of head and neck


c) Superior vena cava syndrome


d) Acute pericarditis


Image analysis


Images 1 e 2: Photographies show facial, mandible, cervical and upper limbs oedema, slightly more intense in left side. Cervical region and upper portion of chest were plethoric. Telangiectasia and collateral circulation are seen in supraclavicular, infraclavicular and mammary regions. There is a node biopsy scar in the right supraclavicular region.



Image 3: Chest radiographies show mass in right hemithorax, and mediastinal widening with contralateral deviation of structures. 


Image 4: Contrast-enhanced chest Computerized Tomography (CT) scan.


- Superior Vena Cava Syndrome is a set of congestive signs and symptoms resulting from blood flow obstruction through superior vena cava.

- Diagnosis is essentially clinical. Imaging tests such as CT and upper cavography is based on the identification of compromised venous drainage.

- Etiological diagnosis guides therapeutic approach.


- Lopez M, Laurentis J. Semiologia Médica. 5 ª ed.

- Cordeiro SZB, Cordeiro PB. Síndrome de veia cava superior. J Pneumol 2002;28(5):288-93.

- Porto CC, Porto AL. Semiologia Médica. 6ª ed

- Cervantes A, hirivella I. Oncological Emergencies. Ann Oncol. 2004; 15 Suppl 4:iv299-306.


Júlio Guerra Domingues, 6th year medical student at UFMG.

E-mail: jgdjulio[arroba]

Lucas Diniz Machado, 6th year medical student at UFMG.

E-mail: lucasdiamantina[arroba]


Valéria Maria Augusto, Professor of the Department of Clinical Medicine at UFMG School of Medicine.

E-mail: vmaopneumo[at]

José Nelson Mendes Vieira, Professor of the Department of Anatomy at UFMG School of Medicine. E-mail: zenelson.vieira[at]


Letícia Horta, Júlia Petrocchi, Barbara Bragaglia, Luanna Monteiro and professor Viviane Parisotto.

Translated by

Ana Júlia Furbino Dias Bicalho, 6th year medical student at UFMG.

Email: anajuliabicalho[at]


This material was developed in partnership with Medical Semiology Teaching - Clinical Medicine department of UFMG School of Medicine.

Test question












Sorry, there is a database connection problem.

Please check back again shortly.

Bookmark and Share

Unfortunately there is no english translation available yet for this case.

Please refer to the Portuguese version instead or come back later.

Follow us:      Twitter  |    Facebook  |    Get the news  |    E-mail