What is the prognosis of inferior vena cava thrombosis (IVCT)?

Updated: Jun 12, 2018
  • Author: Luis G Fernandez, MD, FACS, FASAS, FCCP, FCCM, FICS, KHS, KCOEG; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, DSc, MSc, AGAF  more...
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The outcome of patients with IVCT is often determined by the underlying condition that initially caused the thrombosis. However, some general statements can be made. The impact and outcome of IVCT are as variable as the clinical presentation. In one study, only one third of patients had a correct diagnosis before venography. Adult patients with ligation of their vena cava reportedly have either no symptoms or mild edema after ligation. [28]

A report on children who had IVCT unrelated to catheterization revealed that 50% had persistent IVCT. Symptoms of chronic limb pain and chronic abdominal pain were observed. Another series of pediatric patients with IVCT secondary to central venous access identified no sequelae unless concurrent superior vena cava thrombosis was present.

Finally, the outcome of patients who have IVCT relates to the embolic risk associated with DVT overall. If the cava is occluded, pulmonary embolization does not present a significant risk. However, if a caval lumen remains, embolization may occur.

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