Diagnosis of a left-sided superior vena cava during placement of a pulmonary artery catheter

Bobbie Jean Sweitzer*, William J. Hoffman, John W. Allyn, Willard J. Daggett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


We report a case of a left sided superior vena cava (SVC) that was diagnosed during placement of a pulmonary artery (PA) catheter. After entering the left internal jugular, the PA catheter passed into the left side of the heart, through the aortic valve, and into the aorta. This was an unusual cause of right-to-left shunting and persistent cyanosis in a patient who had undergone two open cardiac procedures, including repair of an atrial septal defect. Cardiac catherization and echocardiography also failed to reveal the abnormality. The embryology and physiology of a left sided SVC is reviewed, including an historical perspective. A discussion of the variants of the syndrome is included, as is a review of aberrant placement of central venous catheters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)500-504
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Anesthesia
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993


  • Pulmonary artery catheter,complications
  • superior vena cava, left-sided

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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