Abdominal #1 – Long case

A 47-year-old female presented to the Emergency Room with bilateral upper extremity paresthesia, redness and edema. Her symptoms were not position-dependent. The patient was otherwise healthy, and did not take any medication. There is no pertinent surgical history.

An MR angiogram was ordered. The following images were obtained during bolus tracking:

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Coronal MRV

MRA

T1-weighted images with fat saturation, following contrast administration


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Diagnosis:

Superior vena cava (SVC) syndrome from right apical lung mass

Discussion:

In this patient with bilateral neurological deficits and edema, the suspicion of SVC syndrome must be addressed. This can be done using either an MRI or a CT protocol. In this case, the MRI scout bolus images (Image 1 & 2) revealed a pathognomonic sign for SVC occlusion:

Please note the marked collateral circulation following contrast administration to the right upper extremity with dilation of multiple intercostal and lateral thoracic veins. These collateral vessels then pool into the liver’s quadrate (segment 4 of the liver), giving the characteristic “hot spot sign”. This name originates from terminology in nuclear medicine, where it was occasionally seen in the case of SVC syndrome. Nowadays, it is more likely to be noticed on a CT or MR. This image also reveals the complete occlusion of the SVC.

Following fat-saturated T1-weighted axial image acquisition with contrast, the cause of the obstruction is evident. There is an infiltrative right apical mass which obstructs the SVC, as well as bilateral pleural effusions. Additionally, there is tumor thrombus noted in the left innominate vein, likely secondary to stasis.

Please review the following video and identify all these pertinent findings: