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The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2008 June;49(3):323-8


language: English

Surgical treatment of tumors involving the inferior vena cava. Personal experience

Spinelli F., Stilo F., La Spada M., De Caridi G., Benedetto F.

Unit of Vascular Surgery University of Messina, Messina, Italy


Aim. Leiomyosarcoma of the inferior vena cava (IVC) is a rare tumor that frequently produces non-specific symptoms. Surgical treatment is complex. In this review of our experience, we highlight replacement modalities of the vena cava or other vessels after complete tumor resection.
Methods. During the last 20 years, we treated 12 patients (6 women and 6 men; age range, 38-72 years) with IVC leiomyosarcoma, all apparently free of distant metastases. Tumor location, graft patency, long-term survival and tumor recurrence were recorded. The tumor arose from the IVC in 8 patients; in 2 cases the intracaval mass reached the right atrium; in 4 patients the tumor arose from the femoroiliac axis. Surgical approach was by sternolaparotomy in 5 cases and by median xyphopubic access in 7. Extracorporeal circulation (ECC) was needed in 2 cases. All tumors were removed by en bloc resection. The IVC was directly sutured in 2 patients and patched in 4; no reconstruction was necessary in 2 patients; the IVC was replaced in the remaining cases. Four patients had an additional arteriovenous fistula. One patient underwent bifurcated Dacron graft replacement of the aortic carrefour involved by tumor.
Results. Two patients died postoperatively. One patient developed late stenosis of the polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) graft, which was treated by stenting. The mean follow-up period was 35 months. The 4-year survival rate was 51% and survival free of recurrence was 63%.
Conclusion. Leiomyosarcoma of the IVC is an uncommon tumor that produces non-specific symptoms. In the absence of distant malignancy, an aggressive approach can obtain late survival free of recurrence.

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