Some cancers can compress or obstruct the superior vena cava, a vein which carries blood from the upper body to the heart. Super vena cava obstruction (SVCO) can result in death and is considered an oncological emergency.

In this rapid learning you will learn how to:

  • recognise the signs and symptoms of SVCO
  • assess the severity
  • initiate the right interventions and escalate care appropriately.

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Additional resources

You can use the following resources in the workplace to assist you in caring for patients.

Save a copy of these resources so you can refer back to them in the workplace.
Patient information
  1. Mariano Provencio Pulla, 2016. ESMO Handbook of oncological emergencies. 2nd edn, ESMO press
  2. DK, Rosenthal LD. Oncologic emergencies in the patient with lymphoma. Seminars in Oncology Nursing. 1998 14(4):312-20
  3. Stracke et al. 2016 Review of¬ evolving etiologies, implications and¬ treatment strategies for¬ the superior vena cava syndrome. SpringerPlus. 5:229
  4. UKONS, 2018. Acute oncology initial management guidelines. UKONS


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