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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Case Report of a Left-sided Superior Vena Cava Causing Unique Positioning of Central Line


Introduction: Persistent left-sided superior vena cava is a rare congenital venous malformation. While often clinically asymptomatic, these variations in normal anatomy may give rise to complications with central venous catheter placement.

Case Report: We present a case of a 71-year-old male who presented to the emergency department with sepsis of unknown etiology. A right-sided central venous catheter was placed, and due to a persistent left-sided superior vena cava the post-procedure chest radiograph showed a uniquely positioned catheter tip within the left atrium.

Conclusion: A persistent left-sided superior vena cava may lead to uniquely positioned catheter tip placement on post-procedural imaging. This case demonstrates the need to consider variants in normal venous anatomy, such as persistent left-sided superior vena cava, to aid with correct interpretation of post-procedure imaging findings.

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