A primary cardiac sarcoma presenting with superior vena cava obstruction

Manish Thakker, Tracey Keteepe-Arachi, Ausami Abbas, Graham Barker, Neil Ruparelia, Gearoid T Kingston, Timothy J Parke
American Journal of Emergency Medicine 2012, 30 (1): 264.e3-5
Superior vena cava (SVC) obstruction leads to a constellation of symptoms and signs that encompass the SVC syndrome. Today, malignancy accounts for 65% of all cases. The most common neoplastic causes are non–small cell lung cancer (50%), small cell lung cancer (25%), lymphoma, and metastasis. Primary cardiac tumors are an extremely rare cause of SVC obstruction. We describe the case of a 48-year-old man who presented with dyspnea, confusion, and facial swelling with cyanosis. The patient developed life-threatening airway obstruction after administration of anxiolytic. The diagnosis of SVC obstruction secondary to a primary cardiac sarcoma was established based on clinical, radiologic, and post-mortem findings. This is one of very few reported cases of a primary cardiac sarcoma causing SVC obstruction.

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