Duplication of inferior vena cava

Duplication of the inferior vena cava is a relatively rare vascular anomaly, but this caval abnormality needs to be recognized, especially in association with renal anomalies like crossed fused ectopia or circumaortic renal collar 1-2.

The incidence of inferior vena caval duplication is reported to be ~1.5% (range 0.2-3%) 3.


Case reports of association with ureteropelvic junction anomaly and retrocaval ureters are also known 5.

Usually, an incidental detection, while evaluating genitourinary anomalies.


Inferior vena cava develops after a lot of permutation and combinations during 7-10th weeks of gestation4.

  • posterior cardinal vein appears first but forms only distal IVC i.e. iliac bifurcation.
  • subcardinal veins (2) appear next, left subcardinal vein regresses, and right subcardinal vein forms suprarenal IVC.
  • supracardinal veins (2) appear last, left supracardinal vein regresses, and right supracardinal vein forms infrarenal IVC.

IVC duplication results from a persistent left supracardinal vein.

Duplicated left sided IVC is usually seen as a continuation of the left common iliac vein, crossing anterior to the aorta at the level of renal vein to join the right sided IVC. 

An important differential is transposition of IVC. The renal vein is an important landmark for this differential. IVC continues on both sides of the aorta, in duplicated IVC. However, in transposition of IVC, it continues on left side of aorta only.

Abdominal and pelvic anatomy
Share article

Article information

rID: 19270
System: Vascular
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • IVC duplication
  • Duplicated IVC
  • Duplicated inferior vena cava
  • Inferior venacava duplication
  • Duplication of IVC
  • Duplication of the inferior vena cava
  • Inferior vena caval duplication

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Drag
    Figure 1
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 1 - with crossed fused ectopia
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 2
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Duplicated left s...
    Case 3
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 4
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 5: MRI
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Drag
    Case 6
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

    Alert accept

    Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

    Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.