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Multiple thromboembolic events associated with bilateral superior vena cava and anomalous drainage into the left atrium


A 49-year-old female patient presented with acute-on-chronic chest pain. She was diagnosed with multiple systemic thromboemboli, including myocardial infarctions, bilateral chronic pulmonary emboli, ischaemic stroke, deep venous thrombosis and superficial thrombophlebitis. She had a background of sickle cell trait. Cardiac magnetic resonance showed bilateral superior vena cava (SVC). The right-sided SVC (RSVC) was joined by the right upper pulmonary vein and drained anomalously into the left atrium. This caused a small volume right to left shunt. The persistent left SVC drained into the right atrium (RA) via a dilated coronary sinus. The overall clinical impression was recurrent paradoxical emboli due to anomalous venous anatomy with a thrombophilia secondary to sickle cell trait. In the normal embryo, the right common cardinal vein develops to become the RSVC, which drains into the RA by term.

  • venous thromboembolism
  • clinical diagnostic tests
  • radiology (diagnostics)
  • haematology (incl blood transfusion)
  • radiology

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