Superior vena cava syndrome (SVCS) is a medical condition which consists of the obstruction of blood flow through the superior vena cava. Congenital or ac- quired abnormalities can affect the diameter of SVC. The complete obstruction of SVC leads to SVCS. In the preantibiotic era, the untreated infections were the most frequent causes of the SVCS, but today malig- nancy is the most common etiology. Symptoms usually have a gradual onset and dyspnea remains the most important one. Conventional venography is the gold standard for identifying the location, the extent and the hemodynamic significance of the obstruction, being superior to CT scan, even though it can not demostrate the cause. The differential diagnosis includes pulmonary infections, cardiac tampon- ade, thoracic aortic aneurysm, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The treatment goals are to relieve the symptoms and to cure the underlying cause. The medical care includes anticoagulants, glucocorticoids, diuretics, as well as radio- and chemotherapy. The sur- gical approach involves stent placement and venous bypass. The prognosis depends entirely on the under- lying disease.
Key words: superior vena cava, malignancy, stent.