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 both of the patient's 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(for exp.superior lobe of lung cancer)[citation needed] or goiter[4] (thoracic inlet obstruction due to retrosternal goiter 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.


  1. ^ "". Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  2. ^ synd/3558 at Who Named It?
  3. ^ Pemberton HS. Sign of submerged goitre. Lancet 1946;251:509.
  4. ^ O'Brien KE, Gopal V, Mazzaferri E (April 2003). "Pemberton's sign associated with a large multinodular goiter". Thyroid 13 (4): 407–8. doi:10.1089/105072503321669929. ISSN 1050-7256. PMID 12804111.