Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Caput medusae

Picture shows a severe case of Caput Medusae

Caput Medusae is the term used to describe tortuous veins when they become prominent on the surface of the abdomen. It is classically associated with portal hypertension and liver cirrhosis.

The differential diagnosis for this particular case also included Inferior Vena Cava Obstruction (IVCO). To distinguish between Caput Medusae or IVCO, occlusion of the vein is required. If blood flows towards the legs, Caput Medusae is more likely. If blood flows towards the head, IVCO is more likely.

The name caput medusae(Latin for "head of Medusa") originates from the apparent similarity to Medusa's head, which had venomous snakes in place hair.

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