The inferior vena cava: a pictorial review of embryology, anatomy, pathology, and interventions

  • David S. ShinEmail author
  • Claire K. Sandstrom
  • Christopher R. Ingraham
  • Eric J. Monroe
  • Guy E. Johnson


The inferior vena cava (IVC) is the largest venous conduit below the diaphragm. Although this structure is often overlooked both clinically and radiographically, it can be involved in many different pathologic processes. A thorough understanding of the IVC will assist the radiologist in recognizing anatomic variants, identifying abnormalities, and providing accurate differential diagnoses. In this comprehensive pictorial review of the IVC, we depict embryology behind anatomic variants, present a wide range of pathology with a focus on diagnostic imaging, and describe relevant endovascular interventions.


Inferior vena cava Embryology Anatomic variants 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest regarding the publication of this article.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RadiologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of RadiologySeattle Children’s HospitalSeattleUSA

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