Caput medusae

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Caput medusae
Caput medusae.jpg
Angiographically, venous malformations are multiple feeding vessels which, by converging on a draining vein, produce a "caput medusae" formation (arrows).
Image courtesy of Dr. E. Ralph Heinz, Durham, NC. and Professor Peter Anderson DVM PhD and published with permission © PEIR, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Department of Pathology
ICD-10 I86.8 (ILDS I86.820)
ICD-9 456.8

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Caput medusae is the appearance of distended and engorged umbilical veins which are seen radiating from the umbilicus across the abdomen to join systemic veins.

Etymology

The name caput medusae (Latin for "head of Medusa") originates from the apparent similarity to Medusa's hair once Minerva had turned it into snakes.

Causes

It is a sign of severe portal hypertension that has decompressed by portal-systemic shunting through the umbilical veins.[1]

Differential diagnosis

Inferior vena cava obstruction

How to differentiate

Determine the direction of flow in the veins below the umbilicus.

See also

References

  1. "Hepatic Pathology". Retrieved 2007-12-09. 



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