Clinical and procedural implications of congenital vena cava anomalies in adults: A systematic review

Irfan Shafi, Abubakar A.I. Hassan, Katherine G. Akers, Riyaz Bashir, Mohamad Alkhouli, Jarret J. Weinberger, Aiden Abidov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Although congenital vena cava (CVC) anomalies in adults have implications for surgical and radiological interventions, the literature is scare and disparate. The aim of this systematic review was to assess cardiovascular clinical and procedural implications of CVC anomalies in adults without congenital heart disease. Methods and results: We searched PubMed and EMBASE from database conception through October 2018 for English-language studies describing the epidemiology of CVC anomalies or their clinical or procedural implications in humans. Two independent reviewers screened 7093 records and identified 16 relevant studies. We found two major implications of CVC anomalies: 1) congenital inferior vena cava (CIVC) anomalies are associated with a 50–100-fold higher risk of deep venous thrombosis, particularly among younger patients, and 2) persistent left superior vena cava (PLSVC) is associated with a 2–3-fold higher risk of supraventricular arrhythmias. PLSVC also poses technical challenges to cardiovascular electronic device implantation, requiring alterations in surgical approach and lengthening procedure and X-ray exposure times. Due to the large disparity in reported prevalence rates of CIVC anomalies, we performed a meta-analysis of CIVC anomaly prevalence including 8 studies, which showed a weighted prevalence of 6.8% (95% CI, 4.5–9.2%). Conclusion: These findings challenge the notion that CVC anomalies are rare and asymptomatic in adults. Rather, the literature indicates that CVC anomalies are not uncommon and have important clinical and procedural implications. To further understand the prevalence and implications of CVC anomalies, a robust US population-based study and nationwide registry is warranted in the current era of venous interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-35
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
StatePublished - Sep 15 2020


  • Cardiovascular implant electronic device
  • Congenital vena cava anomalies
  • Deep venous thrombosis
  • Persistent left superior vena cava
  • Supraventricular arrhythmia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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