Clinical implications of congenital interruption of inferior vena cava

J Formos Med Assoc. 2022 Oct;121(10):1938-1944. doi: 10.1016/j.jfma.2022.01.021. Epub 2022 Feb 5.


Background/purpose: Inferior vena cava (IVC) interruption is rare and can be detected through prenatal or postnatal imaging. It usually occurs in patients with heterotaxy syndrome with bilateral left-sidedness (left isomerism or polysplenia syndrome), indicating a laterality defect. However, its long-term outcomes remain unclear.

Methods: This retrospective study included a patient cohort with evidence of IVC interruption based on imagining data (1980-2019) selected from our institutional database.

Results: We included 34 (male/female = 14/20) patients with IVC interruption. Most of the patients had left isomerism of the bronchopulmonary situs (96.4%) and cardiac atrial situs (90.3%). Splenic anomalies, including polysplenia (35.7%), lobulated spleen (39.3%), inversus solitary spleen (10.7%), and asplenia (3.6%), were common. Normal cardiac structure was noted in four (11.8%) patients. Congenital heart disease (CHD) was noted in 30 patients: 7 with simple CHD and 23 with severe CHD. Bradycardia occurred in 47.1% of the patients and was not associated with CHD. Splenic variations were not associated with CHD or bradycardia. The survival rates for the 10-, 20-, and 40-year age groups were 0.880, 0.792, and 0.441, respectively; severe CHD was the only risk factor.

Conclusion: IVC interruption can present as an isolated lesion and be associated with CHD. Although bradycardia was common among the patients, CHD severity was the only risk factor for survival. Patients with IVC interruption commonly have left isomerism at the atrial and bronchopulmonary situs, but the spectrum of splenic abnormalities is wide, including polysplenia, lobulated spleen, solitary inversus spleen, and, rarely, asplenia.

Keywords: Bradicardia; Congenital heart disease; Heterotaxy; Interrupted inferior vena cava.

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple* / pathology
  • Bradycardia
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital* / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / diagnostic imaging
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / pathology