Case report

Journal of Medical Case Reports

, 4:223

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Patent abdominal subcutaneous veins caused by congenital absence of the inferior vena cava: a case report

  • Wolfgang J SchnedlAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine, Medical University of GrazPractice for General Internal Medicine Email author 
  • , Pia ReittnerAffiliated withDiagnostikum Sued-West
  • , Robert KrauseAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine, Medical University of Graz
  • , Rainer W LippAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine, Medical University of Graz
  • , Erwin TafeitAffiliated withInstitute of Physiological Chemistry, Centre of Physiological Medicine
  • , Sandra J Wallner-LiebmannAffiliated withInstitute of Pathophysiology, Centre for Molecular Medicine



Patent paraumbilical and abdominal subcutaneous veins are found frequently as collaterals in patients due to portal hypertension mainly in liver cirrhosis.

Case presentation

For evaluation of portal hypertension in a 72-year-old Caucasian man without liver cirrhosis, magnetic resonance imaging with gadolinium contrast-enhancement was performed and demonstrated a missing inferior vena cava. A blood return from the lower extremities was shown through enlarged collateral veins of the abdominal wall, vena azygos and hemiazygos continuation, and multiple liver veins emptying into the right cardiac atrium. We describe a rare case of abdominal subcutaneous wall veins as collaterals caused by a congenitally absent infrarenal inferior vena cava with preservation of a hypoplastic suprarenal segment.


Knowledge of these congenital variations can be of clinical importance and it is imperative for the reporting radiologist to identify these anomalies as they can have a significant impact on the clinical management of the patient.