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Table of Contents
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 512-514
An unusual case of uninterrupted inferior vena cava with accessory hemizygous channel: An incidental finding in a child

1 Department of Pediatric Cardiology, BL Kapur Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Cardio-thoracic and Vascular Surgery, BL Kapur Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi, India

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Date of Submission19-Aug-2019
Date of Acceptance14-Nov-2019
Date of Web Publication19-Oct-2020


Azygos or hemizygous continuation of inferior vena cava (IVC) is diagnosed in the presence of intrahepatic interruption of IVC. We report a case of a 4-year-old, male child presenting with a history of poor weight gain. A detailed evaluation of the child revealed a diagnosis of hemizygous continuation of uninterrupted, but severely obstructed, IVC. This incidental finding has rarely been reported in the literature.

Keywords: Accessory hemizygous channel, obstructed inferior vena cava, uninterrupted inferior vena cava

How to cite this article:
Agrawal G, Das A, Gupta G. An unusual case of uninterrupted inferior vena cava with accessory hemizygous channel: An incidental finding in a child. Ann Card Anaesth 2020;23:512-4

How to cite this URL:
Agrawal G, Das A, Gupta G. An unusual case of uninterrupted inferior vena cava with accessory hemizygous channel: An incidental finding in a child. Ann Card Anaesth [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Nov 27];23:512-4. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Interruption of the inferior vena cava (IVC) is rare, with a reported incidence of 1:5000 based on prenatal ultrasound screening. In the majority of the cases, it presents as an isolated anomaly, although it may be associated with cardiac or splenic abnormalities and often with left atrial isomerism. Azygos continuation of IVC is commonly associated with congenital heart defects like a complete atrioventricular septal defect, double outlet right ventricle, ventricular outflow tract obstructions, total anomalous pulmonary vein drainage, complete heart block, and viscera-cardiac heterotaxy.[1]

The prevalence of azygos continuation of the IVC approaches 0.6–2% in association with congenital heart defects and less than 0.3% when isolated.[2]

Hemizygous or azygous continuation of an obstructed IVC is still a rare anomaly. We report such a case of hemizygous continuation of the IVC in the presence of a severely obstructed IVC without atrial isomerism.

   Case Report Top

A 4-year-old, male child weighing 10 kg (birth weight 2.5 kg) reported with a history of poor weight gain and failure to thrive (body mass index [BMI] 12.5). There was no history of recurrent respiratory tract infection, cyanosis, dyspnea, edema, and abdominal distension. Antenatal, natal, and postnatal periods were uneventful. Family and socioeconomic history were normal. On examination, his vitals were unremarkable, and saturation was 97% in all four limbs on room air. Auscultation revealed a short systolic murmur all over the precordium. Respiratory, abdominal, and neurological examinations were unremarkable.

Transthoracic echocardiogram revealed situs solitus, levocardia, right-sided IVC, and left-sided aorta on the subcostal short-axis view; however, the direct drainage of IVC into the right atrium could not be confirmed on subcostal long-axis view [Figure 1]a. An upward draining venous channel was detected in the subcostal long-axis view on the left side of the descending aorta [Figure 1]b and Supplementary Video 1].

Right superior vena cava (RSVC) was draining into the right atrium. There was persistent left superior vena cava (LSVC) draining into the coronary sinus (CS) with no innominate bridging vein and normal pulmonary venous drainage and no intracardiac defect. The rest of the cardiac anatomy was unexceptional on echocardiography.
Figure 1: (a) Unclear drainage of inferior vena cava (IVC) on transthoracic echocardiogram in the subcostal long-axis view. (b) Transthoracic echocardiogram showing upward draining venous channel on the left side of the descending aorta in the subcostal long-axis view

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The chest radiograph and ultrasound of the abdomen excluded the presence of atrial isomerism with utmost certainty. There was no evidence of Budd–Chiari malformation or hepatic vena cava syndrome (HVCS) on the abdominal ultrasound. To determine the IVC drainage into the right atrium, we contemplated the options of computerized tomographic angiography (CTA) or cardiac catheterization angiography. Although an invasive procedure, cardiac catheterization was still preferred over CTA to obtain hemodynamic data, which were not possible with a CTA.

Diagnostic cardiac catheterization was done under conscious sedation, which showed severely obstructed intrahepatic part of IVC that was draining into right atrium [[Figure 2]a and Supplementary Video 2], and there was a hemizygous continuation of IVC that was draining into the right atrium via LSVC and CS [[Figure 2]b and Supplementary Video 2]. There was a mean pressure difference of 6 mmHg between the right atrium and IVC. The pressure difference was measured using a 4 French multipurpose A2 catheter (Cordis Corporation) by the pullback method through the right femoral venous route. Cardiac catheterization was performed to confirm the anatomy and establish the diagnosis.
Figure 2: (a) Angiographic image in anteroposterior view showing drainage of obstructed inferior vena cava (IVC) into the right atrium. (b) Angiographic image in anteroposterior view showing drainage of the hemizygous venous channel into the right atrium via left superior vena cava (LSVC) and coronary sinus (CS)

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It is unlikely that this incidental and rare anatomical anomaly had any pathological concerns for the patient in view of the failure to thrive and poor weight gain. The parents were counseled and the patient was advised to consult a pediatrician for a detailed evaluation of poor weight gain to exclude other causes of failure to thrive, namely, nutritional deficiencies, collagen vascular diseases (including serum antinuclear antibody and rheumatoid factor), celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, gastroesophageal reflux, and intestinal parasites. The child is under regular follow-up with the pediatrician.

The child later underwent detailed nutritional and serological work up with the pediatrician and was diagnosed with celiac disease. His serum test was positive for antitransglutaminase immunoglobulin A (IgA). He is being managed with proper dietary modifications, including gluten-free diet and nutritional supplementation and, currently, under bimonthly follow-up with adequate weight gain.

   Discussion Top

Congenital malformations and abnormalities of IVC and its tributaries have been rarely reported.

During embryological development, IVC is composed of the hepatic, prerenal, renal, and postrenal segments, which undergo segmental fusion, regression, and midline anastomosis. Failure of the hepatic and prerenal segments to fuse results in infrahepatic interruption of IVC, the most common developmental anomaly of the IVC. The infrahepatic IVC may continue either as the azygos vein or hemizygous vein to the LSVC.[3],[4],[5]

This vascular anomaly is most frequently associated with visceral heterotaxy, atrial septal defects, left atrial isomerism (polysple1nia syndrome), and right atrial isomerism (asplenia syndrome).[6],[7]

Although most of these isolated anomalies are incidental findings, they may have clinical implications in certain situations. The dilated azygos vein may be misdiagnosed as a mediastinal mass on chest radiography.[8]

It is hypothesized that the symptoms and prognosis are related to associated congenital heart disease.

There are several reports of interrupted IVC with azygos or hemizygous continuation in literature, but this combination of congenital IVC malformation, in which there was patent but severely obstructed intrahepatic part of IVC along with accessory hemizygous channel with no evidence of isomerism, has been infrequently reported in the literature until now. Most of the cases are supposed to be asymptomatic and are detected incidentally.

A thorough literature search revealed a case of widely patent IVC with azygos continuation.[9]

Obstructed IVC mandates an escape route for the blood from the lower part of the body to be diverted via the persistence of an embryonal anastomosis between the primordia of IVC and azygos or hemizygous system.

In our case, the patient had no signs of obstructed IVC, namely, ascites or pedal edema; hence, he was advised for follow-up at regular intervals.

Palliative implantation of a stent in the IVC may be an option that can be anticipated for maintaining its patency at later stages if symptomatology of IVC obstruction develops.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Bronshtein M, Khatib N, Blumenfeld Z. Prenatal diagnosis and outcome of isolated interrupted inferior vena cava. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2010;202:398.e1-398.e4.  Back to cited text no. 1
Colak MH, Rahman A, Kocaturk H, Bayram E, Kocakoc E. Interrupted inferior vena cava and partial anomalous pulmonary venous return with atrial septal defect in a 38-year-old adult: A case report. Cases J 2009;2:7346-51.  Back to cited text no. 2
Vijayvergiya R, Bhat MN, Kumar RM, Vivekanand SG, Grover A. Azygos continuation of interrupted inferior vena cava in association with sick sinus syndrome. Heart 2005;91:e26.  Back to cited text no. 3
Kocaturk H, Erol MK, Onbas O. Images in cardiology: Asymptomatic inferior vena cava anomaly in an adult: Three dimensional multislice CT image. Heart 2005;91:1514.  Back to cited text no. 4
Arakawa A, Nagata Y, Miyagi S, Takahashi M. Case report: Interruption of inferior vena cava with anomalous continuations. J Comput Tomogr 1987;11:341-5.  Back to cited text no. 5
Phoon CK, Villegas MD, Ursell PC, Silverman NH. Left atrial isomerism detected in fetal life. Am J Cardiol 1996;77:1083-8.  Back to cited text no. 6
Ruscazio M, Van Praagh S, Marrass AR, Catani G, Illiceto S, Van Praagh R. Interrupted inferior vena cava in asplenia syndrome and a review of the hereditary patterns of visceral situs abnormalities. Am J Cardiol 1998;81:111-6.  Back to cited text no. 7
Beedie RJ, Yeo W, Morcos SK. Congenital absence of the intrahepatic segment of the inferior vena cava with azygos continuation presenting as a mediastinal mass. Postgrad Med J 1989;65:253-5.  Back to cited text no. 8
Schneeweiss A, Bleiden LC, Deutsch V, Shem-Tov A, Neufeld HN. Uninterrupted inferior vena cava with azygos continuation. CHEST, 80: 1981 July, 1.  Back to cited text no. 9

Correspondence Address:
Gaurav Agrawal
Pediatric Cardiology, BL Kapur Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi - 110 005
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aca.ACA_117_19

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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]