Brachiocephalic vein stenosis

Last revised by Subhan Iqbal on 3 Jul 2020

Brachiocephalic vein stenosis refers to a narrowing of the brachiocephalic vein. It is commonly seen in chronic hemodialysis patients.

A study conducted in Chinese population shows a prevalence of stenosis in hemodialysis patients was 30-50% 3.

The presentation can be variable ranging from facial swelling, retrograde blood flow in to the jugular vessels and cerebral venous hypertension 2.

Brachiocephalic vein stenosis can originate from multiple causes:

  • left brachiocephalic vein compression between the sternum and aortic arch vessels
  • prior IV lines, e.g. dialysis catheters
  • brachiocephalic thrombus formation

Brachiocephalic vein re-narrowing is common following stent placement. Balloon angioplasty or surgical intervention, to conserve an arm for haemodialysis, is also an option

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