Emergency Nursing in Medical Oncology: Superior Vena Cava Syndrome


  • Natthaya Boonmark Faculty of Nursing, Chalermkarnchana University, Srisaket


superior vena cava syndrome, emergency nursing, cancer


An oncologic emergency is classified as a rare occurrence; however, it is a potentially morbid or life-threatening event, both directly and indirectly related to the patient's health. Giving patients inpatient treatment with rapid and intense frequency will improve their chances of prevention, cure and relief. Superior Vena Cava Syndrome (SVCS) is an emergency related to medical oncology, since it is mostly found in lung cancer; it is defined as a group of symptoms caused by obstruction of the superior vena cava (a short, wide vessel carrying circulating blood into the heart). SVCS associated with this cancer results from a tumor growing inside the blood vessel resulting in a vascular blockage and disease in that part of the body. Patients with SVCS are usually fatigued due to the difficulty of breathing or from shortness of breath, and often present with facial, neck and arm swelling. Stridor may be detected from proximal airway edema or obstruction. SVCS affects the cardiovascular system by causing hypotension, diseases of the nervous system (such as headache, amblyopia, seizure, and altered consciousness). Awareness of this medial emergency will aid in the preparation of efficient and effective treatment, since SVCS is considered a potentially life-threatening medical emergency


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