Pemberton's sign

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Pemberton's sign is the development of facial flushing,[1] distended neck and head superficial veins, inspiratory stridor and elevation of the jugular venous pressure (JVP) upon raising of the patient's both arms above his/her head simultaneously, as high as possible (Pemberton's maneuver).

It is named for Dr. Hugh Pemberton, who characterized it in 1946.[2][3]


A positive Pemberton's sign is a sign of superior vena cava syndrome, possibly from a mass in the mediastinum, such as a tumor[citation needed] or goiter[4] (thoracic inlet obstruction due to retrosternal goitre or mass).

Apical lung cancers often cause a positive Pemberton's sign and a high index of suspicion should be maintained in patients with symptoms of dyspnea and facial plethora with an extensive smoking history.


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  1. "". Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  2. synd/3558 at Who Named It?
  3. Pemberton HS. Sign of submerged goitre. Lancet 1946;251:509.
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